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Former Gov. Claude Kirk Honored in State at Old Capitol

September 29, 2011 - 6:00pm

Former Gov. Claude Kirk, considered one of the most colorful governors in Florida history, made his final return to the Old Capitol Friday.

With family members greeting well-wishers, Gov. Rick Scott and Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll were among about 200 who made their way past the flag-draped coffin containing the late governor as it rested on the second floor of the Old Capitol.

Kirk, 85, died Wednesday at his home in Palm Beach.

He served from 1967 to 1970, the first Republican governor of Florida since the Reconstruction era. Clashing with a Democratic Cabinet and Legislature, Kirk pushed for constitutional reform in the early days of his administration.

Kirk was defeated by Democrat Reubin Askew in 1970, but stayed on the political stage.He ran for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 1978, in which he placed sixth in a seven-candidate field. Kirk also ran without success for the Democratic nomination in the U.S. Senate race in 1986 and for education commissioner in 1990.

A funeral service is planned for Monday, 1 p.m., at Bethesda-By-The-Sea Episcopal Church in Palm Beach.

A U.S. Marine who served in World War II and the Korean War, Kirk will be buried after a private service at the South Florida National Cemetery in Lake Worth.

Reach Jim Turner at or at (850) 727-0859.

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