A man who spent three decades of his life serving in Virginia's General Assembly is being remembered for his dedication.
Dr. Benjamin Lambert's funeral brought a host of politicians out to pay their respects Monday, including four former Virginia governors.
Hundreds gathered at St. Paul's Baptist Church in Richmond for the three-hour service. The former senator leaves behind his 101-year-old mother, a wife, and several children who addressed the crowd in an emotional tribute.
"Yes, Jesus loves me," sang Lambert's little granddaughter Melania, bringing the crowd to its feet.
Her reflection was one of several coming from those who knew the popular politician and optometrist simply as "dad."
"I just want to say thank you daddy. I love you," said Ann-Frances Lambert.
Holding back tears, Lambert's daughter joined her brothers in sharing personal stories of a man loved by so many.
"I saw my father sacrifice his time. I saw my father sacrifice his practice. I saw my father sacrifice his family and I saw my father sacrifice his health," said Benjamin Lambert IV.
Several politicians also addressed the audience, including Senator Mark Warner who took a light-hearted moment to make those in mourning smile - pointing to all of the lawmakers in attendance.
"Members of the general Assembly, what's interesting, both democrat and republican. Maybe only Benny could bring us together," Warner joked.
With the seal of Virginia draped over Lambert's casket, the dean of Virginia Union's school of theology told the crowd he was a man who lived by "principle and purpose."
"You were the greatest senator in the history of the Commonwealth of Virginia, but better than that you were the best father a son could have," David Lambert said.
Lambert's family announced he is donating $350,000 to his alma mater, Virginia Union, and an additional $50,000 to a college of optometry.
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