DES MOINES, Iowa -- Family, friends, and community members gathered to say goodbye Wednesday morning to a man who leaves a lasting legacy on the State of Iowa.
Chief Justice Mark Cady died last week at the age of 66 after having a heart attack while out for a walk.
A large crowd gathered for the public service, which was held at the Knapp Center on Drake University's campus.
That's where Cady earned his undergraduate and law degrees before he was appointed to Iowa's Supreme Court. He served on the state's highest court for more than two decades.
Mark Brownlee, a friend of Cady’s, reminded mourners how lucky they were to have known him.
"Be thankful you had the pleasure and privilege to know him and look forward to an easier time when sadness and tears will gradually give way to smiles and fond memories of this great, good, authentic man and friend. With that, Mr. Chief Justice, I rest. So shall you, my great friend,” said Brownlee.
Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court Nathan Hecht also spoke at Cady's celebration of life.
"Iowa has lost an extraordinary judge and statesman, you know that well. I can tell you this, so has the country. As ambassador Dan Mozena wrote in tribute to Mark, "Ours is to sustain his grand legacy of integrity, humility and respect for others." God help us do so," Hecht said.
Janece Valentine said Cady presided over the first trial she was a part of and stayed with her throughout her career in some way.
"Iowa did truly lose a hero and there’s no one that will be able to step into those shoes. He was exactly what the Supreme Court and the State of Iowa needed at the time. He became the chief to help us all heal and he will forever be remembered for some rather noteworthy decisions, but he’s much more than that," Valentine said.
Iowa State Senator Joe Bolkcom said Cady truly cared about everyone.
"Chief Justice Cady was a people's judge. He cared about families. He cared about people with mental health problems. He cared about poor Iowans. And every day his work as a member leading our courts, he had that first and foremost in his mind. He was a fair judge and did an amazing job to help improve the State of Iowa," Sen. Bolkcom said.
According to Brownlee, the annual Dean’s Cup golf tournament between Drake Law alumni and the University of Iowa law alumni will now be named the Cady Cup in remembrance.
Plans are now underway to create a permanent legacy for Cady.
The Iowa Judicial Branch has announced an effort to designate the first floor of the Iowa Judicial Building as the Mark S. Cady Learning Center.
The learning center was a goal of Cady's and will have interactive exhibits showing how a case moves through the Supreme Court. Students from Iowa State University will be helping with the designing process.
Tune in to the Channel 13 News at 4:00 for more on the public service honoring Cady from Channel 13’s Laura Barczewski.