After circling the reflection pool, the hearse carrying the world renowned physician stopped at the back entrance to city hall, and the flag draped casket was unloaded. DeBakey died Friday night of natural causes just months shy of his 100th birthday. He was dressed in his medical scrubs.
Among the dignitaries to arrive early, City Councilmember Jolanda Jones:
“He is a major reason why our medical center is what it is. He saved a lot of lives; he’s educated a lot of people; he’s taught a lot of people how to care about people; he’s taught a lot of people stuff that but for him would have never even been invented. So, how are you not here?”
Patrick Trahan with the Mayor’s office says it was decided that the rotunda would be the perfect place for a public viewing.
“It tells the story of western civilization. It honors culture, industry, commerce. It honors medicine and, what better way to use this space than someone who’s contributed so greatly to medicine, to Houston’s culture and has changed the way people view Houston around the world?”
Susan Christian: “We made the right decision in honoring this great American in this manner.”
Susan Christain is Deputy Director of the Mayor’s Office of Special Events.
“It’s a very high honor to be at city hall, never been done before, and it will also prompt us to write policy for it.”
People waited patiently for their turn to say goodbye to the man who meant so much to so many:
“I came down to respect a gentleman that’s done alot for friends that I’ve had in the past and I just moved here to Houston, I felt like it was very important to support a doctor who’s done alot for Houston.”
“I’ve always found him to be a real gentleman. He was one of the people that never held himself above anybody else. He was just as common as could be, just wanted to do what’s good for humanity.”
“My father was a recipient of his good work. My father has quadruple bypass so, he’s still alive, so I had to come and say thanks.”
“Great pioneer in medicine, great citizen, great person.”
A public memorial will be held at 1pm at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart.
Pat Hernandez, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.