Former congressman and Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole, who died last week of cancer at age 98, was always known for his humor. And on Friday, during his own funeral service, he snuck in one last punchline via a letter he wrote to be released upon his passing.
“As I make the final walk on my life’s journey I do so without fear because I know that I will again not be walking alone. I know that God will be walking with me,” he wrote. “I also confess that I’m a bit curious to learn if I am correct in thinking that heaven will look a lot like Kansas and to see, like others who have gone before me, if I will still be able to vote in Chicago,” a friendly gibe at the city’s reputation for corruption.
The crack sent audible laughter through the Washington National Cathedral, where the president and vice-president, as well as a number of current and former leaders, joined for a memorial.
“We served together for 25 years. We disagreed, but we were never disagreeable with one another … I found Bob to be a man of principle, pragmatism and enormous integrity,” Mr Biden said of Mr Dole, a WWII vet who served for decades in the House and then in the Senate, where he rose to be the GOP leader.
In addition to working towards landmark bills like the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Kansan legislator was known for his quick wit.
He once quipped of Majority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer that “the most dangerous place is between him and a camera,” a joke which the Democratic leader riffed on at the funeral, telling the audience, “Don’t worry, Bob. It’s safe to be between me and the cameras today.”
Mr Dole once even wrote a book of political humour called Great Political Wit: Laughing (Almost) All the Way to the White House, at joke at his own failed presidential run against Bill Clinton in 1996.
A year later, when Clinton awarded him a Presidential Medal of Freedom, Mr Dole pretended he was being sworn in as president, before joking, “Sorry, wrong speech.”
He was also known for once referring to former presidents Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, and Richard Nixon as “See No Evil, Hear No Evil and Evil.”