SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC4) – Senator Orrin Hatch received the honor of lying in state at the Utah State Capitol Wednesday, where the public was invited to pay their respects.

Walter J. Plub III was a long-time friend of Sen. Orrin Hatch, and a law partner before Sen. Orrin Hatch, the longest-serving Republican in the U.S. Senate, died on April 23, at the age of 88.

“I met Orrin Hatch one afternoon at a law firm, and immediately Orrin asked me to quit my job and come with him, and I immediately did it. I was so taken with him,” said Plub.

He believes the death of Senator Hatch is a loss to not just the senator’s family and friends, but to the nation.

“People in Utah had no idea how big a deal he was in Washington. Not just with politicians but the whole business community of the United States,” Plub said.

Former Utah State Senate Minority leader Scott Howell ran against Sen. Hatch for a seat in the U.S. Senate in the years 2000 and 2012.

“Orrin was a fierce politician and he was very good. If I had to run against a politician, I ran against the very best,” said Sen. Howell.

Sen. Howell said Sen. Hatch knew how to reach across the aisle to pass meaningful legislation, and was respectful to people even when they disagreed. 

“He passed one of the most important bills in my lifetime called CHIP. The Children’s Health Insurance Program and that has blessed the lives of millions of kids across the country,” said Sen. Howell.

Funeral Services for Sen. Hatch will be held on Friday, May 6, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Institute of Religion.