Friends, family and colleagues gathered at St. Aloysius Friday to say goodbye to Tom Foley, the Spokane native who went on to become Speaker of the House and Ambassador to Japan.
Hundreds of people, including members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, were in attendance as they mourned his passing by reflecting on life and the impact he made in both Washington State and Washington, DC.
"Even though Tom just thought of himself as the congressman from Spokane he was one of them. He was a brilliant, courageous leader who belonged in the halls of power and foreign palaces, but at the very same time he belonged here in Spokane with the family, friends and neighbors he represented," Senator Patty Murray said.
"Not only was he the first person to serve west of the Rockies as the Speaker of the House, but he brought Spokane roots all the way from one Washington to another for over three decades," Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers said.
Governor Jay Inlee served alongside Foley in the early 1990s and remembered Foley's compassion for the people he served.
"I don't think you can point to another leader that we have been blessed with in our nation's history that combines such a strong heart for his people, with such a strong backbone for constitutional democracy. And that combination of traits have born us so well in so many different ways," Inslee said.
Rounding out the memorial was Foley's longtime chief of staff, his wife of 45 years, Heather, who shared here memories of the kindest man she has ever known. She was with him on journey, every step of the way, from Washington State to Washington, DC.
"How lucky I was to be there to see him and help him along the way," she said.
Westboro a no-show
While Friday morning's memorial service included a Who's Who in Washington State Politics, with leaders past and present from the statehouse in Olympia and the U.S. Capitol in Washington, one group who RSVP'd via Twitter but was a no-show Friday morning was the Westboro Baptist Church, which issued a statement blasting Foley not long after his death.
Their lack of presence was good news for the friends and family of Foley, who wanted to come together in peace and honor a man who was known for bringing people of different beliefs together.
While Westboro was a no-show, the Spokane Police Department was ready for their presence, as were a group of motorcycle-riding combat veterans and a lone counter-protestor, Zoe Hjelm.
"It needs to be known that that is not okay to do what they are doing, everybody is human, it doesn't matter race, religion, sexual orientation, anything like that. You don't treat your fellow humans like that," she said.