Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch Lying in Repose at State House

Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch died Sunday at age 72

Mourners are paying their final respects to House Speaker Michael Busch in the rotunda of the Maryland State House.

Busch died April 7 after a battle with pneumonia at age 72. He is lying in repose in the rotunda of the Maryland State House until 7 p.m. Monday. Public visitation will resume Tuesday from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m.

The Baltimore Sun reports hundreds of mourners filed past a casket bearing Busch's body in the State House on Monday.

Bagpipes played "Amazing Grace'' as an honor guard carried the casket through the State House front door. The coffin was placed on a bier near the historic House of Delegates mace, a 300-year-old wooden and silver staff that marks when the chamber is in session.

Remembered as a champion of the Chesapeake Bay and education, Busch, a Democrat, was the longest-serving House speaker in the state's history. He was first elected to the House in 1986 and became speaker in 2003.

A funeral service will be held Tuesday at 11 a.m. at St. John Neuman Church in Annapolis. A reception honoring Busch will follow the service from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Atkinson Tower at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

"He was a mentor, a coach, a friend, and each and every one of us benefited from his wise counsel and his steady leadership," Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, said in the wake of Busch's death. "Mike Busch truly became an institution within the institution of state government, and his name will long be synonymous with service in Maryland."

Del. Kumar Barve, a Democrat, said, "I feel like I lost an older brother."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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