A former Missouri lawmaker who championed education and chaired the Joint Committee on Education has died.
Former State Rep. Mike Lair, R-Chillicothe, served in the House from 2008 to 2016.
The 71-year-old Lair died Tuesday. Former Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, served with Lair for six years in the House.
“Mike Lair was a great big man with a great big heart and I think everybody would agree with me on that Democrats, Republicans and everybody in between,” Jones says.
Jones says Lair was passionate about education and was committed to his family, district and caucus.
Lair also chaired the House Select Committee on Education during his final term. Jones tells Missourinet he remembers listening to Lair in Capitol caucus meetings in Jefferson City.
“Mike would kind of rise from the back of the room where he sat and that big booming voice would just echo forth, and it was kind of always like the exclamation point or the period on whatever we were discussing,” says Jones. “Cause it was like the voice of God in a way, you know.”
Jones describes Lair as an “elder statesman”, saying he was polite and disagreed without being disagreeable. Former Speaker Jones says Lair brought passion to every issue.
“He wanted to make sure that we left those caucus rooms and that we were on that (House) floor speaking with one voice as the majority but for all of Missouri, you know, and that’s what I would say,” Jones says. “I give him the label of statesman, because that’s what he truly was.”
Lair represented northwest Missouri’s 7th House District, which included Caldwell, Carroll, Clinton and Livingston counties.
Lair taught history at Chillicothe High School (CHS) from 1987 until he retired in 2008. He also was the CHS boys track coach from 1988 until 1996, and was an assistant football coach at Chillicothe for several years.
The office of House Majority Caucus Secretary Jason Chipman, R-Steelville, says funeral services for former State Rep. Mike Lair are scheduled for Tuesday at noon at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Jefferson City. Monsignor Robert Kurwicki will officiate. Visitation will also take place at the Cathedral. Visitation will be held on Monday from 4-7 pm, with a rosary service at 3:15. Missourinet Chillicothe affiliate KCHI Radio (AM 1010) reports funeral arrangements are under the direction of Freeman Mortuary, and that a memorial service will be held in Chillicothe at a later date. KCHI reports the Lindley Funeral Home is handling the Chillicothe arrangements.
Click here to listen to the full eight-minute interview between Missourinet news director Brian Hauswirth and former Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones, which was recorded on September 6, 2017: