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At funeral for Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, tears, laughter and remembrance

May 6, 2022, 5:20 PM | Updated: 5:55 pm
Sen. Orrin Hatch...
Elaine Hatch, wife of former U.S. Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, second from left, speaks with Gov. Spencer Cox as he gives her the flag that was draped over her husband's casket as the Hatches' children, Marcia Hatch Whetton, left, Jess Hatch and Alysa Whitlock, look on after the funeral service at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Institute of Religion adjacent to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Friday, May 6, 2022. Hatch, the longest-serving Republican in the U.S. Senate and the longest-serving senator from Utah, died April 23 at age 88. He was first elected in 1976 and served 42 years in the Senate until retiring after his seventh term in 2019. Photo: Laura Seitz, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The funeral for Sen. Orrin Hatch on Friday was held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Institute of Religion near the University of Utah and was open to the public.

And the members of the public who attended, as well as the senator’s family, friends and colleagues, were given a glimpse into the life of the senator they may not have known before.

Hundreds of people listened as friends and family spoke of the senator’s impact on their lives. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, part of the senator’s life in Washington D.C., said that Sen. Hatch remained humble after 42 years of service to the people of Utah.

“Forty-two years as a high-ranking politician, and every single day, Orrin marveled anew at the blessings our great country, and our mighty God had laid before him,” McConnell said.

Hatch’s son Brent was one of the speakers that recalled all the lives that were touched by Sen. Hatch.

“He was good friends with many people,” Hatch said. “Muhammad Ali was one of them. Muhammad visited many times and helped with his campaign.

“When he (Ali) passed, Dad spoke at his funeral. A Muslim and a Mormon finding common ground. Dad understood that,” said the Senator’s son. 

Among other speakers was the first counselor in the first presidency in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Dallin H. Oakes, who assured mourners that Sen. Hatch served Utahns during seven terms in office with devotion and humility. 

Sen. Orrin Hatch was the longest-serving Republican in the Senate. He died April 23 at the age of 88.

Sen. Hatch will be buried with military honors at the cemetery in the Cache County town of Newton, where he and his wife Elaine own a burial plot.

Grandchildren of former U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch sing “No Empty Chairs,” a song by Hatch and Janice Kapp Perry, during the funeral for the former senator. Kristin Murphy, Deseret News A member of the Utah Army National Guard performs taps following the funeral service for former U.S. Sen. Orrin G. Hatch. Kristin Murphy, Deseret News Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, speaks at the funeral service for former Sen. Orrin G. Hatch. Kristin Murphy, Deseret News Gov. Spencer Cox, left, takes the flag that was draped over former U.S. Sen. Orrin G. Hatch’s casket to present to Hatch's widow, Elaine, during the funeral service for the late senator. Kristin Murphy, Deseret News Members of the Utah Army National Guard perform a rifle salute in honor former U.S. Sen. Orrin G. Hatch after Hatch's funeral at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Institute of Religion adjacent to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Friday, May 6, 2022. Laura Seitz, Deseret News

KSL NewsRadio reporter Mark Jackson contributed to this report.

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At funeral for Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, tears, laughter and remembrance