INDEPENDENCE — Ed Bideau had a quiet passion about him, Jeff King said.
The Kansas Senate vice president saluted his House colleague Monday, following the death of Rep. Bideau, R-Chanute, Thursday.
“A soft-spoken man, I never heard him raise his voice,” Sen. King, R-Independence, said. “Yet, woe to the legislator or lobbyist who confused Ed’s gentleness with apathy. Ed cared fiercely about southeast Kansas and was one of its most effective advocates. He cared deeply about the law. Every bill that touched his hands emerged better for his work. He cared passionately about life. The pro-life movement lost one of its great champions with Ed.”
King, who previously represented a portion of Franklin County before the 2012 redistricting, now represents Labette, Montgomery, and Neosho counties — the latter of which includes Bideau’s home in Chanute. Bideau, 62, died Thursday of an apparent heart attack.
“Ed was a fifth-generation Kansan who was committed to the people of this state, to his family and to his faith,” Gov. Sam Brownback said in a release, which also called for flags to be lowered to half staff across the state through Bideau’s funeral services today, set for 2 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, Chanute.
Bideau served in the Kansas House from 1985 until 1988, King said, leaving the state Capitol to focus on his family and law practice in Chanute. He also farmed and served as a county attorney and on a variety of local boards and organizations. With their children grown, Bideau and his wife, Margaret, decided in 2012 it was time to return to Topeka, King said.
“Word of his passing has hit me harder than anticipated,” Rep. Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe, said. “He was back just a brief time, but he had earned the respect of his colleagues.”
Bideau was a model legislator and inspiration, King said.
“I called Ed when the grind of politics would wear me down, and always left feeling rejuvenated,” he said. “When others would distance themselves from tough decisions, Ed would stand strong. Though a mild-mannered man who would prefer to avoid conflict, Ed would never abandon a friend, never abandon a cause, never backed down from doing what was right.”