Fellow lobbyists, friends say farewell to Jim Krog
'One of the good guys,' 60, died last week
TALLAHASSEE - Those who worked alongside Jim Krog paid moving tribute to his personal and political accomplishments Monday in a joyous farewell to "a lobbyist's lobbyist" known for his wit and integrity.
"I've found that the key to government, the only way you can have good government, is to have good people in it. It's that simple," former Gov. Reubin Askew said in a brief, unwritten eulogy. "And we're talking about one of the good guys."
Trinity United Methodist Church echoed with laughter as friends told tales of campaigns, legislative issues and off-duty time spent with Krog at Clyde's, the Governors Club or homes of friends during nearly four decades that he worked in Tallahassee. Proverbs and psalms spoke of giving wise counsel, not selling out for money or power and serving others.
The printed program ended with "Sine die," the Latin term used for final adjournment of legislative sessions. But the Rev. E. Wayne Curry and the four veteran Capitol hands who shared "memorial moments" spoke of celebrating his life, rather than mourning his passing.
Lobbyist John French recalled working with Krog in the Legislature in 1972 and two years later at the Florida Democratic Party. French said Krog could oppose lobbyists or legislators on issues without personal enmity.
He also explained a "rookie of the year" title once won by Krog when he was no rookie. French said it was a jocular honor Krog earned by telling Democratic Senate president-designate Gwen Margolis he had a $5,000 check for her leadership fund.
When she opened the envelope, French said, Margolis found a cover letter addressed to Republican leader Toni Jennings - and a check for $10,000 made out to the Republican Party.
"That little faux pas cost his clients another $5,000," French said.
But French said Krog ranked with the late Harry Landrum as a universally respected advocate. Surveying an overflow audience that included many past and present Capitol power brokers, French estimated that "this room is about half full of people he's mentored" in government or politics.
"I've been the legislative process for almost four decades now and in those four decades a lot of lobbyists have come and gone," French said. "But in that time there've only been two that I think everyone would say was a lobbyist's lobbyist."
Former Rep. Anne Mackenzie said she met Krog when they were legislative assistants in 1976. She called him "larger than life" and "my mentor, and my friend first."
Lobbyist Richard Gentry praised Krog's ability as a campaign manager as well as a persuasive legislative advocate.
"Jim would not want us to be maudlin today," said Gentry. "I never knew someone in this process who had as much fun as Jim."
Krog, 60, died of a heart attack last week. In their eulogies, friends also made special mention of his devotion to his wife, Louella, and son, Christopher.
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