Gubernatorial chief of staff Mike Haydon was remembered at a memorial service Wednesday as a man of genuine character who left Kentucky a better place through his tireless devotion to public service.
Haydon died Sunday from a pulmonary embolism at his home in Springfield. He was 62.
Haydon, who served Gov. Steve Beshear as chief of staff and legislative director, had been an aide to several Kentucky political leaders in past years, including former Gov. Wallace Wilkinson and House Floor Leader Rocky Adkins.
“To me, he was invaluable because he told me what I needed to hear instead of what I wanted to hear,” Beshear told hundreds of his relatives, friends and co-workers who gathered at the Capitol Rotunda for the memorial service.
Haydon spent more than 30 years in public service at both the state and local level.
He became Beshear’s chief of staff in 2010. Before that, Haydon served as Beshear’s legislative director.
He had also served as mayor of Springfield and property valuation administrator for Washington County.
Beshear said Haydon was “a genuine character” and a man of “continuous energy” who worked long hours for the people of Kentucky.
Adkins said “Kentucky is a better place” because of Haydon’s service.
“Mike was a person who loved to take people and nurture them,” Adkins said. “He loved to see people do all they could do and be all they could be.”
Adkins also said Haydon loved politics. “He loved the pressure of the day,” Adkins said. “He loved the heat of the battle.” And, as a result, Adkins said, Haydon “left his fingerprint on Kentucky.”
“Because of his commitment, Kentucky is a better place,” Adkins said.
Former state Auditor Crit Luallen said Haydon was an effective public servant, telling the crowd that “his was a hand that reached across party lines.”
“There was no one who loved public service more than Mike Haydon,” she said. “He charged out the door every single morning ready to do battle.”
Haydon is survived by his wife, Lisa, and three children.
Another visitation will be today from 4 to 8 p.m. at Hale-Polin-Robinson Funeral Home in Springfield. The funeral will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday at St. Dominic Church in Springfield.