PARKERSBURG, W.Va.-(WTAP) An event Friday afternoon at the now-former Juliana Street bridge was about more than renaming a bridge.
It was a remembrance of sorts by everyone who attended a ceremony, of a man most knew and worked with personally.
"Frank Deem was my teacher and my mentor, and very quickly, became my very good friend," said Delegate John Kelly, recalling veteran delegate and state senator Frank Deem, who passed away last October.
Gov. Jim Justice's legislative point man, Bob Ashley, was another who served in the West Virginia Legislature along with Deem. But he recalled more than Deem's nearly half a century in the House and Senate.
"We grew up with World War II veterans being our leaders, being our members of the House," Ashley recalled. "And I would say Frank Deem, when he passed away, will be the last World War II veteran to ever serve in the West Virginia State Legislature."
The bill renaming the bridge was the first officially introduced in last winter's legislative session, and the second approved by a bi-partisan vote.
"He was a person who was able to reach across the aisle; he was good at compromise," said Deem's wife, Becky. "He knew you couldn't hold a grudge and get anything done."
Perhaps for that reason, renaming the bridge was the ultimate tribute.