McMath Remembered By Notable Arkansans

October 6, 2003 - Posted at: 7:29 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Here are some remarks from notable Arkansans on former Governor Sid McMath, who died Saturday night at his home in Little Rock:

Former President Bill Clinton:

"Governor McMath excelled in everything he did and distinguished himself as a public servant, a Marine General, and as an attorney.  He not only was a personal friend, but he was a mentor and a role model.  I admired and respected him very much.  As he grew older, he continued to be such a positive force for good.  We have lost one of our true heroes."

Governor Mike Huckabee, who ordered state flags flown at half-staff in honor of McMath:

"During his term as Governor, his progressive advocacy of pushing Arkansas forward in education, highways, availability of electricity, and economic development rattled political cages and ultimately cost him his political life, but history will measure the greatness of his accomplishments and the smallness of his critics, most all of whom he outlived.  It has been especially fitting that he lived long enough to see appreciation for his legacy grow."

Democratic Presidential candidate and retired Army General Wesley Clark, who grew up in Little Rock:

"Over the past half-century, Governor McMath served his state and country with the highest honor and dignity.  Whether fighting for our nation's most fundamental liberties in battle or fighting the scourge of racism and segregation, he united people in pursuit of progress and built a lasting legacy that continues to shape the face of political history."

Former U.S. Senator Dale Bumpers, who in the last 20 years became good friends with McMath:

"He became my idol when I was an undergrad at the University of Arkansas.  I was just mesmerized by him.  He played a pretty strong role in my ambition to get into politics.

"I think Sid was the first truly progressive governor the state ever had.  He was extremely devoted to education and highways, as devoted to causes like that as much as any governor we ever had."

Son Phillip McMath, an attorney in Little Rock:

"He was the greatest man I ever knew and ever ought to know."

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.