Everyone from Vice President Joe Biden to everyday people were on hand yesterday to lay former U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter to rest. Specter, a moderate Republican for most of his career, who became a Democrat for his last bid for re-election, was praised by members of both parties.
The 82-year-old Specter died Sunday after ultimately losing his battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Vice President Joe Biden remembered Specter as always showing “undaunted courage” whether in politics or in fighting cancer.
Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, whom Specter hired to work in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.
“He was my friend. He gave me my first job. He was at my wedding,” said Rendell. “I mean he’s … all of us who worked for Arlen, particularly in the original D.A.’s office, we all felt a great sense of pride in him; he felt a great sense of pride in us. You know Arlen could be as tough as nails, and sometimes you bit your lip, but, boy, he had us believing we were the guardians of the gates of hell and it was the 64 of us that were stopping Philadelphia from sliding down into the abyss.”
“I remember him getting in the train to go to Washington every Monday morning and being always energized — the energized senator,” said Bonnie Camarda of the Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia.
Barry Caldwell, Specter’s chief of staff for four years, said, “Wonderful guy. Tough guy to work for — definitely dedicated to the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Knew how to make a good martini. We’d have a good drink once in a blue moon, but they were precious moments.”
The funeral was held at Har Zion Temple in Penn Valley.