On Monday March 5th I was in St. Louis joining about 15 other former Senator Tom Eagleton staffers giving a presentation to St. Louis University Law students and other family, friends and acquaintances of the late Senator. After leaving the Senate, Eagleton taught at St. Louis University Law School for many years with Professor Joel Goldstein who invited us back to tell stories about the legacy of Senator Tom Eagleton.
While it was so good to see my former colleagues and friends…it was especially nice to see Tom’s wife Barbara Eagleton and their children and grandchildren. It was fascinating to watch the eyes of the Senator’s grandchildren hear folks talk about their grandpa. They were too young when their grandpa died five years ago to really understand what a significance difference their grandpa made in our country and in the world. Now, hopefully they will have a better understanding and appreciation for their grandpa’s legacy.
All of us who had the honor and privilege to work with Tom Eagleton over the years told numerous stories of his significant legislative achievements. It was fun to remember all the stories and share background details of how legislation that Eagleton championed became public law. He was a remarkable legislator and he was effective in working with both Democrats and Republicans in getting his legislation approved.
What I found most interesting is that every one of us who used to work with Tom talked more about the man than we did about his legislative achievements. What I hope his grandchildren heard is that while their grandpa was an important public servant, he was an even better human being. His legacy is not only the legislation that he passed but also his human factors that made him a mentor and a loyal and trusted friend to all who knew him well. I hope his grandchildren left knowing some reasons why their grandpa was so special to so many of us.