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The Rockefeller Republicans Return, Albeit Briefly

Former congressman Gilbert Gude's funeral at Church of the Little Flower in Bethesda drew hundreds of mourners yesterday, including Isiah Leggett and a special assistant Chuck Short, former U.S. senators Charles "Mac" Mathias Jr. (R) and, Paul S. Sarbanes (D) ,as well as former County Council member Howard Denis (R), former delegate Jean Cryor (R) and Comptroller Peter Franchot (D).

Chesapeake and & Ohio Canal National Historical Park Superintendent Kevin D. Brandt also attended before dashing back to the County Council to testify about a proposal to enhance protection for the canal. The homily was conducted by Monsignor Peter Vaghi.

Gude, 84, died last week. He was remembered for being Maryland's version of a Rockefeller Republican, a staunch environmentalist and a longtime supporter of the C & O Canal. One of his children, Adrienne Gude Lewis, who delivered the eulogy, is carrying on the family tradition in county politics; she's a staff member for at-large Democrat Marc Elrich, a freshman member of the council.

Gude served five terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1967 to 1977. He led efforts to stop plans for a highway alongside the canal, which stretches 185 miles from Georgetown to Cumberland in Western Maryland. Gude introduced the bill that resulted in the restoration of the 19th-century waterway and the creation, in 1971, of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, the country's narrowest national park.

"To those of us in Bethesda, he was a neighbor -- a neighbor who changed all of America for the better," said Robert Dyer, a member of the Montgomery GOP Central Committee, in an email. "The Chesapeake and & Ohio Canal National Historical Park is his immortal legacy. We should take that legacy forward by aspiring to equal his leadership and commitment to a cleaner environment, regardless of party affiliation."

By Miranda Spivack  |  June 13, 2007; 10:44 AM ET
Categories:  Miranda Spivack  
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