TRAVERSE CITY, Mich (WLNS) – They celebrated and honored the life of former Michigan Gov. Bill Milliken today near his home of Traverse city.  

He died last October at the age of 97 and was the state’s longest-serving chief executive.

Gov. Bill and First Lady Helen Milliken are a deep part of the Michigan political fabric.

Their 14 years in office is a record that will never be broken.

They honored the man and his legacy today as someone who would not fit into today’s rough and tumble political environment.

“He didn’t call people juvenile names,” said Bill Rustem, a former policy advisor. “He didn’t threaten, he was not petty. He didn’t bully and he rejected the lure of hyper-partisanship.”

They honored him for working to make Detroit a better place and he worked very well with former Detroit mayor Coleman Young.

One of the persons who saw the governor in public and private was the head of his State Police security detail, Arlan Brower.

“I can honestly tell you that the man you saw in public was the same man in private,” said Brower. “He was very compassionate with strength and was truly a great gentleman.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer focused on Mr. Milliken’s drive to work with both political parties to do the work of the citizens they served and she prays his unique legacy lives on.

“So on this day that we say goodbye to Gov. Milliken, let us be cognizant of the fact that many of his contributions live on,” said the governor. “Let’s pray that his spirit of sweetness and generosity and tolerance has not been and will not be forgotten.”

In his last statewide television appearance in 2006, the governor wanted to remember this way.

“That I have contributed to, maybe, to a better Michigan. And in 30 years if people can see that, I will be satisfied.”