Former U.S. Senator Fritz Hollings was remembered as a trusted friend and confidant whose views evolved over time.
Funeral services were heldTuesday at Summerall Chapel at The Citadel in Charleston for Hollings, who represented South Carolina in the Senate for nearly 40 years. It was the final goodbye to the man who was one of the last larger-than-life Democrats who once dominated the politics of the South.
Speaking through tears, U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn remembered Hollings as a strong leader who was capable of transformative change on the issue of race.
Clyburn said that he was moved when Hollings asked that his own name be taken down from a courthouse, replaced by that of a judge whose dissent led to the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education ruling desegregating public schools.
Hollings initially campaigned against desegregation when running for governor in the 1950s. But he evolved on the issue, later advocating for integration. As a South Carolina State University student, Clyburn said he met with the then-governor and knew that Hollings' attitude on race was changing, although he hadn't ever shared that thought publicly until now.
Former Vice President Joe Biden credited his longtime desk mate with making sure he made it to the chamber in the first place.
Biden told the crowd that Hollings both encouraged him to run for the Senate and urged him to take his seat following a car crash that killed Biden's first wife and daughter.
Biden told Hollings' children that he knows their grief seems insurmountable now, but it will pass.
Gov. Henry McMaster also spoke of the late senator, saying, "the magnificent lion of South Carolina roars no more."
Hollings died earlier this month at 97. The funeral capped off three days of mourning for the former governor and longtime U.S. senator, whose body lay in repose Monday at the state Capitol.
Hollings' long and colorful political career included an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. When he retired from the Senate in 2005, Hollings had served 38 years and two months, making him the eighth longest-serving senator in U.S. history.