BENTON, IL (KFVS) - Hundreds gathered to pay their respects to former U.S. Congressman Ken Gray on Saturday.
His visitation and funeral took place at the Benton, Illinois Civic Center.
Gray served as a congressional representative for 24 years.
“He said it’s the same thing it's always been," said Marleis Trover Ph.D., Author of “Pass the Plate," a book about Ken Gray. "You have to love people no matter criticism or praise - love all the people. And, you have to roll up your sleeves and don’t put them down until you're done.”
“Kenny Gray loved people and he loved commerce," Trover said. "So, he would be very happy to see everybody here at this presentation and the ceremony celebrating his life.”
Trover says Ken Gray picked the title of the book.
“He said ‘If pork is education, jobs, roads, and health care, then pass the plate," Trover said.
Jim Kirkpatrick was a former aid to Rep. Gray who says Gray was compassionate.
“I think that if I learned anything from Congressman Gray... it’s how you treat people," Kirkpatrick said. "He was always very kind, he was always concerned. He was a class act.”
The former congressman's family tells Heartland News that Gray had been suffering from an illness for a long time.
Rep. Gray's cousin, Gray Landt, told Heartland News that Rep. Gray would want to tell people to enjoy life.
"He would tell us all to go out there and enjoy life, said Landt. "And be the best we can to one another.”
He died on July 12 at Herrin Hospital.
He was 89-years-old.
Gray will be buried at East Fork Cemetery in his hometown of West Frankfort, IL.