SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – National leaders, public faces, and family members of Orrin G. Hatch came together this afternoon to honor the life of Utah’s longest-serving Senator. 

The funeral service featured accolades from U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, President Dallin H. Oaks of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, former Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR), Orrin G. Hatch Foundation Chair Scott Anderson, and the Senator’s children, Brent and Marcia Hatch.

Hundreds of individuals influenced by the extraordinary legacy of Hatch gathered at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City to remember one of the most effective legislatures in the history of American politics. The ceremony wrapped up with a 21-gun salute and flag presentation to the Hatch family. After the service, the procession traveled to Newton where Hatch will be laid to rest.

Close friends of Hatch paid tribute to the legislative leader. 

U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell noted, “Orrin was a master legislator. Sometimes that meant shepherding bold conservative victories—from his epic fight against Robert Byrd and Big Labor during his first term, to the historic tax reform he quarterbacked in his last. But Orrin also championed bipartisan efforts to lift up the vulnerable, including his leadership on the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and today’s National Suicide Lifeline. He took his legislation to the same place where our Savior took his ministry: To the margins. To the periphery. Serving ‘the least of these.’”

Similarly, President Oaks spoke out, saying, “What happened to Orrin Hatch after our first meeting 50 years ago is well known and already reviewed. I add only our longtime friendship and frequent contacts and work on subjects of common and public interest.  Now, born two years apart and tracing our ancestry through the same small Utah town, Orrin and I come together for what I like to refer to as Orrin G. Hatch’s graduation from mortality, with highest honors.”

Members of the Hatch Foundation gave an honorary mention to their founder as well. Hatch Foundation Chair Scott Anderson said, “Today we mourn the passing of a great American and a great Senator. But he was more than that. He was a bridge-builder, a collaborator, a sports enthusiast, a songwriter, a man of God, and a cherished friend. We will miss his physical presence, but his spirit lives on and his legacy will continue to impact people through the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation. We love you, Senator Hatch.”