- Associated Press - Monday, January 26, 2015
Hundreds gather to mourn former Sen. Wendell Ford

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - When it was time to break ground for the Kentucky Horse Park in 1974, former Gov. Wendell Ford had no use for a shovel.

He wanted a mule.

The “boy from Yellow Creek” plowed the earth with a team of mules that day as a nod to the farmers in his native western Kentucky, just one of the legendary politician’s many touches that showed his deep understanding of Kentucky and the people that put him in office year after year.

“That was Wendell Ford,” Thomas L. Preston, Ford’s former senior adviser, told hundreds of mourners Sunday during a public memorial service at the state Capitol. “Wendell Ford was not enamored with the upper crust.”

Ford died Thursday at his home in Owensboro after a battle with lung cancer. He is the only Kentuckian to win consecutive terms as lieutenant governor, governor and U.S. senator. He served in the Senate for 25 years, retiring in 1998.

On Sunday, his body lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda, joining the likes of Kentucky legends such as Daniel Boone and a host of other governors and government officials. At least five governors attended Sunday’s service, along with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, state Senate President Robert Stivers, state House Speaker Greg Stumbo and scores of Ford’s friends, family and staffers.

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