Missouri’s former Congressman Ike Skelton was buried in his home town of Lexington, Mo. Monday, amid the kind of military honors normally reserved for generals and admirals.
Skelton served 17 terms in Congress from Missouri’s 4th District, many of them as powerful Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
He died of pneumonia last week at age 81.
Skelton championed a strong American military. It was fitting his funeral service was at Wentworth Military Academy and College in Lexington.
Skelton’s Baptist Pastor Everett Hannon Jr. led the service.
“Isaac 'Ike' Newton Skelton IV was a warrior. He may not have been in a foxhole or dropped a bomb from a B12 aircraft, but he made a way out of ‘no way’ for many soldiers. Our warrior fought through his sons,” said Hannon.
A bout with Polio during his youth kept Skelton from actual military service. Two of his sons chose military careers.
Longtime political colleague, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver gave the eulogy; he didn’t dwell on politics, but did speak of fellow members of Congress.
“Each morning, Ike was picked up at his suburban home by his dear friend and mine, Joanne Emerson, a Republican," said Cleaver. "I mention her political pedigree because Ike and Joanne never fell prey to the darkness and discordance that is today’s Washington.”
Skelton’s brand of conservatism wasn’t enough to reelect him in 2010 and the seat was won by Tea Party backed Republican, Vicki Hartzler.
In an earlier time, Skelton’s name was so well known in his district, his political yard signs read only one word.
He had a common touch that people remembered. They remembered it by signs in store windows along main street of the county-seat town. He was praised for patriotism, loyalty and service.
“I don’t think no matter which party or anything he was well respected by both sides and he just remained a true Lexingtonian through it all," said 14-year resident, Byron Nicodemus.
The graveside service was for family only. But towns-people knew when it was done.
A soundless B2 bomber appeared in a fly-over, just a dark wedge in the sky, but the roar heard by all, just minutes later.