Anchorage Daily News: Lisa and Frank Murkowski mourn Ted Stevens

Sen. Lisa Murkowski was emotional as she spoke about Ted Stevens today to reporters at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.

He was the most remarkable mentor… He was pretty legendary for his gruff demeanor. (But) he was the softest touch. He was as gentle as any man, he was so loving towards his family," she said.

A reporter asked Murkowski whether Stevens had been happy in recent years, given his legal problems and his defeat in the 2008 election.

“I think he had lost faith in our judicial system for a period of time, and it was very hard for a man who had helped shaped the law, who had built the laws. And I think he felt abandoned by some in the Senate. You find out who your real friends are when there are difficulties, I think that hurt Ted.”

“He was a great man and his memory will be honored for as long as I am on this earth.

Murkowski’s father, Frank, heard the news at the Waterfall Resort outside Ketchikan. He and his wife, Nancy, were hosting their VIP fishing tournament that raises money for breast cancer detection. “He was a giant and he’ll be missed,” Frank Murkowski said.

He faxed a statement in which he described Stevens’ role in statehood, ANCSA, ANILCA and the Magnuson Stevens Fisheries Act.

“Ted and I were Senate colleagues for 22 years of his 40 years of public service in the Senate, so I’m very aware of the hard work he provided Alaska and the personal sacrifices he made in doing so. We shared so much in those years and the years I was governor. He was a transformative figure for Alaska, but also my friend,” Frank Murkowski said.

“Nancy and my hearts go out to Catherine and Ted’s family at this tragic time. Our hearts and prayers also go out to the others who were on board the plane. All of them were our friends.”

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Source: By Sean Cockerham. Originally published August 11, 2010