San Francisco - Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks this morning in San Francisco at the funeral of Walter Shorenstein, who died last week. Below are the Speaker's remarks:
“As Speaker of the House, it is my honor to bring the sympathy and the thanks of the entire Congress of the United States to the family of Walter Shorenstein. I do so with great sorrow.
“When word came of Walter's passing, sadness was felt throughout the Capitol. Not only did we lose a great American, so many of us lost a great friend. We shared stories of Walter's life and legacy.
“Before I left Washington, I received messages from all over. On my way home to California this weekend, I visited four states across the country. All along the way, people asked me to bring their condolences to Walter's family.
“I hope it is a comfort to the Shorenstein family that so many people mourn their loss and respect their father.
“The outpouring of respect and affection for Walter Shorenstein brought to mind a passage from Ecclesiasticus: ‘Now let us praise great men, the heroes of our nation. They led the people by their counsel and their knowledge of the laws; From their fund of wisdom, they gave instruction. These are godly men, whose righteous deeds have not been forgotten; their wealth [is] their descendants, and their inheritance [is] their children's children. Their bodies are buried in peace, and their names will live forever. The people will tell of their wisdom and the congregation will continue to sing their praise.'
“I want to praise Walter as a true patriot and a great patriarch.
“He loved America and served our country his entire life: in the Air Force in World War II, as a civic leader, and as a philanthropist, he worked to strengthen our nation.
“Walter knew that our democracy depended on people having a chance to get ahead. In that respect, he was a democrat with a small d. He practiced this in his professional life and advocated this as public policy. And that led him to be a Democrat with a capital D.
“Walter understood how essential freedom of the press is to our democracy. With that in mind, he founded the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy.
“There, he brought together great minds on the subject and honored Joan's understanding of the relationship between the press, at which she excelled, and power, which she covered.
“Walter understood power and was an advisor and friend to Presidents from Lyndon Johnson to Jimmy Carter to President Clinton. And he was an advisor to many who aspired to be President - too numerous to mention.
“Ask an elected official - my colleagues, Anna Eshoo, George Miller, John Garamendi, or Gavin Newsom, Willie Brown or John Burton, how prepared you had to be to visit his office. You always left with words of wisdom. And assigned reading.
“I don't think Walter would mind if I said Walter wasn't always easy. He was competitive - very competitive. We always knew that on our visits and phone calls, we'd be challenged. The most annoying part was that Walter wasn't always easy because Walter was usually right.
“Walter was successful because he was smart and because he was always ready. When I asked him for advice about bringing the Democratic Convention to San Francisco, running for Congress or for leadership, he would say ‘just do it.'
“Long before Nike had the slogan, Walter was giving that advice.
“Walter was a patriarch to the community but what mattered most to him was being a father to his family.
“Today as we pay tribute to Walter, we also remember his Phyllis - and her quiet, dignified, and strong demeanor. If anyone wanted to see the powerful Walter melt, they need only to see him with Phyllis.
“Everyone knows how much he loved his children: Joan, Carole, and Doug, and he glowed with pride in their success. They honored their parent's traditions, which included making their own extraordinary mark on the world.
“And he loved his grandchildren: Wally, Grace, Brandon, Sandra and Danielle. What a great legacy they are to Phyllis and Walter.
“Water Shorenstein died as he had lived: surrounded by his loved ones, in charge of his own situation, and ready. And now that he has passed, we take comfort that his spirit is with Phyllis and Joan.
“Patriot, patriarch, family man, and friend: today, Walter Shorenstein is mourned and praised across the country. But he is especially mourned in this community of San Francisco, where we knew him the best and loved him the most.
“His body will be buried in peace and his name will live forever. May he rest in peace.”