TULSA -- Many are recognizing the life and service of State Rep. David Brumbaugh of Broken Arrow, who died Saturday after suffering a heart attack at his home.
The members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives began the day by holding a moment of silence for their colleague and later sang "Amazing Grace" together. The House placed a folded American flag on Brumbaugh's desk to honor his years of service in the U.S. Army. Members also draped an Oklahoma flag across his empty chair at the front of the chamber.
Brumbaugh first took office in 2000 and became the Republican caucus chairman in 2014. His fellow lawmakers knew him for his strong conservative views, including his opposition to abortion and support for energy issues.
Rep. George Faught, a Republican from Muskogee, spoke on the House floor about his late friend.
"What we can do to celebrate David's family," Faugh said, "is to continue to work for those same principles that he lived his life for and to be kind to one another."
The influence that Brumbaugh held at the statehouse could be felt back at his home district in Broken Arrow, according to Wes Smithwick.
"He was just a standup guy full of integrity," Smithwick said. "Even if you don't agree with David, you could have a civil discussion and still part as friends."
Smithwick, the president and CEO of the Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce, said he worked closely with Brumbaugh over the years most notably on transportation projects, like the renaming of the Creek Turnpike to Oklahoma State Highway 364.
"That was important for economic development purposes," Smithwick said, "and David was our champion for that."
Outside of his legislative work, Brumbaugh stayed active in his church. He served as a deacon at the Tulsa Bible Church, and members could often find him leading Sunday school classes there.
"For a long time, he taught our third and fourth grade boys' Sunday school class," Phil Martin said. "He was a legend there."
Martin, an associate pastor of discipleship, spent Saturday night with Brumbaugh's family at the hospital. The 56 year old died after being found unresponsive at his home.
Martin said faith is now what's comforting Brumbaugh's wife and two daughters.
"David spent his first Easter in heaven," Martin said, "and that makes things a little different for a believer when they know that they'll see someone again."
Brumbaugh's funeral will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Tulsa Bible Church near 61st and Sheridan. His body will also lie in repose Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the state Capitol.
Governor Mary Fallin is also talking to state election officials because she will have to call a special election to fill Brumbaugh's seat. The governor's spokesman said she has the next 30 days to decide when that election will be held.
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