Former Florida Gov. Reubin Askew to lie in state

Askew served as governor from 1971-79

Gov. Reubin Askew
Gov. Reubin Askew (AP photo by Mark Foley (file))

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Reubin Askew will lie in state in the Florida Historic Capitol Museum from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday.

A funeral service will be held at a Tallahassee church at 2 p.m. Wednesday, and Askew will be buried in Pensacola two days later.

Flags on buildings across the state are at half-staff in honor of Askew, who served as Florida's governor from 1971-79. That includes the mammoth Capitol building that Askew was directly responsible for building.

"We dedicate ourselves to an ideal and to a concept," Askew was once quoted as saying.

But Askew built more than just a Capitol building or a legacy of ethics in government.

"Reubin Askew built roads, he helped build the educational system in this state," said Senate President Don Gaetz. "He was a governor who looked ahead. He cared about the next generation more than the next election."

Askew was the first to serve two full consecutive terms as governor. At his final Cabinet meeting in December 1978, he was humble.

"And I think being able to read the newspapers without being concerned of what extent there may be problems I think will make a lot of difference, but it's been a great experience," he said then.

Because Askew didn't serve alcohol the entire eight years he lived in the Governor's Mansion, then-Vice President Spiro Agnew canceled a scheduled overnight visit, citing the official reason as security.

Aide Guy Spearman said the governor didn't expect his staff to follow his teetotaling lead.

"He didn't smoke, drink or cuss," Spearman said.

At a ceremony commemorating his last year of teaching, the governor was asked if he missed public service. He responded that in the Air Force, he used to love to jump out of airplanes, but he didn't want to do it anymore.