DALLAS — JOHN TOWER was remembered by his closest associates as "the cornerstone of the Republican Party." Mr. Tower brought intellect and reason to the floor of the United States Senate, said Paul Eggers, a one-time Republican gubernatorial candidate in Texas and a longtime Tower friend.
Tower, the first Republican since Reconstruction to be elected to the US Senate from Texas, was killed Friday in a Georgia plane crash that also killed his daughter, Marian, and 21 others.
In Los Angeles, President Bush called Tower's death, "a tragic loss. "
Tower's power base was built in Dallas, where he still maintained an office as a military consultant.
The former senator was nominated by President Bush in 1988 to be defense secretary, but he was rejected by the Senate amid allegations of alcoholism and womanizing.
"Senator Tower was my friend," said Sen. Phil Gramm (R) of Texas, one of those who benefited from Tower's success in boosting the GOP in Texas.
"All his life, John Tower stood tall for Texas and for America. His passing leaves a void in the hearts of those who knew and loved him."
Sen. Sam Nunn (D) of Georgia, a leading foe of Tower's nomination, said, "America has lost a patriot."
Tower's plane crashed about two to three miles short of an airport in Georgia. Investigators are still probing for causes.