Eldon Money, the last Democrat in Utah County to be elected to the Utah Senate, passed away last week at age 89, according to his family.
Money, a Spanish Fork Democrat who served five years in the Utah House of Representatives and 17 years in the state Senate, died on July 8 at the Spring Gardens Senior Living Community in Mapleton after battling Alzheimer’s disease, his granddaughter, Christy Lundell Hansen, said in an interview Tuesday.
Money’s community involvement goes far beyond his stints as a state lawmaker. He served as president of both the Utah County Farm Bureau and Spanish Fork Kiwanis Club, a nonprofit that serves underprivileged children throughout the world, and worked as an ordinance worker in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Provo Temple, according to Money’s Walker Funeral Home obituary.
“He had lots of friends in the community,” Hansen said about her grandfather. “He was loved. He had this way about him of making everyone feel special and like they were worth something.”
The late Utah County lawmaker also chaired the Utah Department of Corrections and spent six years on the Utah Division of Justice Services’ Youth Parole Authority.
“And I remember him talking about how some of those kids just weren’t given the chance to be who they were meant to be,” said Hansen, “and just how he wanted to see them have a chance to better themselves.”
Hansen’s earliest memories of Eldon as a state lawmaker are from her childhood, when she and her siblings would sleep over at their grandparents’ house “and we would spend time at the Capitol with grandpa and watch him do his Senate work.”
“We have a lot of fond memories of going up there and spending time at the Capitol up there with him,” she said.
Hansen worked in the House copy room during her senior year of high school, once again giving her a chance to see her grandpa at work at the state Capitol.
“That’s a fond memory that I got to spend that time with him and up there with him,” said Hansen. “That’s really close to my heart. Because that was his last year before he was elected out.”
Hansen described Money, who served in the Utah legislature from 1974 to 1997, as a “proud Democrat” who was “there to be there for his constituents.”
“I think a lot of the reason he kept being reelected is because of his character,” she said. “Because of his integrity and his honesty, and I feel that was the reason he was able to be reelected so many times. Because people knew that he was there for the good of his constituents and not for special interest groups.”
But Hansen doesn’t remember Money as a politician. She remembers him as the man who loved to get on the floor and “roughhouse” with his grandkids, despite admonishments that he was too old to do so.
“Whenever he was around his family he would get this twinkle in his eyes,” Hansen said. “He just lit up whenever he was around his family. He loved being surrounded by his family. They were his whole life.”
Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton said on social media Monday that he was “saddened” by Money’s passing.
“He was a compassionate man who loved Utah,” tweeted Adams. “I am grateful for his years of service and pray for his family and friends at this time.”
A livestream of Money’s memorial service, which took place on Monday, can be viewed at http://www.facebook.com/kris.money/posts/10221049357442303.