'He inspired me. People loved him and respected him,' community members pay tribute to Senator Birch Bayh

Friends, family and community members gathered to pay their respects to Senator Birch Bayh. Those who knew him best, said Bayh's legacy will not be forgotten.

Posted: Apr 29, 2019 10:33 AM

TERRE HAUTE Ind. (WTHI)- Community members are honoring one of their own.

People gathered to pay their respects to former Indiana Senator Birch Bayh.

Bayh passed away last month.

He was 91 years old.

He's made a lasting impact on people nationwide, but especially those in Vigo County.

It was a packed house to honor Birch Bayh in Terre Haute Friday evening.

One of those paying their respects was John Gregg

He first met Bayh as a child and grew up idolizing him.

Eventually, Gregg got the chance to work alongside Bayh.

"It was just something that was kind of surreal. You know it's like is this really happening? But it was a neat experience," said Gregg.

Gregg isn't the only one who's been impacted by Birch Bayh.

Pat Mansard has spent many years working in government, and part of that is thanks to Bayh.

"He inspired me. People loved him and respected him," said Mansard.

Now, friends are looking back on the legacy Bayh has made.

"I think we have to honor him by remembering what he and by talking about it. He believed in a strong America. We have to have a strong America, so I think that's how we're going to keep Birch Bayh alive," said Kenny Cragen.

Friends said they hope people to see the life long impact Bayh has made on everyone.

"It's important that we here in the Wabash Valley realize that we had a native son that literally put a thumbprint on the country's history. 18 year olds the right to vote? You used to have to be 21. That's Birch Bayh. You know dads the next time you load up and go to your girl's softball games, that's Birch Bayh," said Gregg.

Bayh is known for his role in creating the Title IX legislation.

Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in educational programs or activities like sports.

Another memorial service is planned for May 1st at the Indiana Statehouse.

The public is welcome to attend.

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