Former Governor, Friends, Pay Respect to Judge John Hannah

It was a standing room only crowd who came to honor Judge Hannah. He died Thursday of an apparent heart attack while at a judicial conference in Florida.

While his death was unexpected, Judge Hannah was remembered Monday as a man who lived life to its fullest everyday.

Former Governor Ann Richards: "I loved John Hannah, but everybody did. He was, I think, what they call a 'Renaissance Man.'"

A man who loved justice, and fought for ethics in law and politics. Judge John Hannah, who served in so many roles, was so many things to those who paid their respects today.

"He was a man of his word. He did what he felt to be right. And he carried that into his judgeship. He'll be greatly missed by all Texans," says Longview state Representative Tommy Merritt.

"[He was] a man who brought so much to the judicial bench. And he's going to be missed by all the lawyers who practiced in front of him, as well as all the staff at the courthouse," said defense attorney Tonda Curry.

Courthouses were empty as his friends joined for the service -- remembering the judge, and the man. John Hannah was Texas Secretary of State under Governor Richards.

"He could his time with woman shopping, he could spend his time with men smoking cigars and talking big. He was a great Secretary of State when I was governor. He was the first one to ever go into a high school classroom and talk about the importance of voting. He established and got the law passed that made the Ethics Commission."

Former state district judge Louis Gohmert:  "He was a man of class, of intelligence, of grace. And it was always a pleasure to be around him, to work around him, to play around him.  [He was] just a real joy and a real asset to East Texas."

Those who worked with Judge Hannah say he always ran his court to make sure justice was speedy but fair... but law enforcement on the beat was where cases start.

"This whole community lost a person who was good to law enforcement. He devoted his whole life to the criminal justice department and we just feel saddened," says Smith County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Bobby Garmon.

Friends say the legacy will last -- of hard work, of fairness, and of justice.