LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Former Arkansas Gov. and U.S. Sen. David Pryor was remembered during a Saturday funeral service by family, friends and colleagues, including former President Bill Clinton.

Pryor died at the age of 89 on April 20 from natural causes. The memorial was held at a Little Rock church.

Clinton said during the service that Pryor — whom Clinton had worked with for years in Arkansas politics — was one of the few people he could count on in Washington to give him difficult news.

“You’d be amazed how many people are so intimidated by the office of the presidency that they go into the Oval Office time and time and time again, and they tell the president what they think the president wants to hear, not what the president needs to hear,” Clinton said. “David Pryor wasn’t like that.”

Clinton highlighted Pryor’s years of work to improve nursing homes.

“He thought that every person was entitled to live their whole lives in dignity,” Clinton said.

Pryor was a Democrat who was elected governor in 1974 and served four years before being elected to the U.S. Senate. He served three terms before deciding to not seek reelection in 1996. Pryor’s son, Mark Pryor, served two terms in the U.S. Senate.


David Pryor was considered one of the party’s giants in Arkansas, alongside Clinton and the late U.S. Sen. Dale Bumpers. He also served in the U.S. House and the Arkansas Legislature, and remained active in public life in recent years, including being appointed to the University of Arkansas’ Board of Trustees in 2009.

He also temporarily chaired the state Democratic Party in 2008 after its chairman was fatally shot in his office.

Pryor was one of the state’s most beloved figures, praised by Republicans and Democrats. Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders and former Gov. Jim Guy Tucker were among the mourners with family and friends at the rotunda Friday as Pryor’s casket lay in state at the Arkansas Capitol.

Despite all the work Pryor did, Clinton said Pryor always felt like he could do more.

“He proved it by the votes he cast, the actions he took, the speeches he made and the life he put together after he left office,” Clinton said. “And when you run the score up, there’s a lot of people who are better off because David Pryor lived. And all of us that were along for the ride, we’re better off, too, aren’t we?”