Apr 23, 2015 4:40 PM
Landrigan: All walks of life give an emotional goodbye to Rockingham County Sheriff Mike Downing
A moving tribute to Mike Downing, a big but gentle bear of a man who died too soon at 60 years old.
The son of a storied political family whose father Del preceded him in the state Senate and ran for governor.
"They don’t make them like Michael too often," said the Rev. Kyle Stanton, a parish priest from the North Country city of Berlin. "I would have done anything for him because he has always done everything for me."
Stanton, Mike Downing’s nephew who saw up close Downing’s giving spirit, officiated Thursday’s funeral mass.
Sen. Lou D’Allesandro implored the packed congregation to do good works in Mike’s name.
"Make life better; commit to making life better because that’s why Mike did because we love Mike," D’Allesandro said, his voice cracking with emotion.
Gov. Maggie Hassan got to know Downing well serving with him in the state Senate.
"Mike worked well with everybody. I was honored to sit next to him in the Senate for four years and he just had a wonderful way about him and was always looking to solve problems and make the state better and we’ll miss him a lot," Hassan said.
Downing succeeded at every level, as a state trooper, House and Senate member and as sheriff of Rockingham County. He never lost an election and often didn’t even have an opponent. All sessions at the Statehouse were canceled Thursday, so members could attend his funeral.