Hundreds gather to remember Bill McBride - FOX 35 News Orlando

Hundreds gather to remember Bill McBride

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Hundreds turned out for a memorial service for former gubernatorial candidate Bill McBride in Tampa.

The service was held Friday afternoon at the Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church. The service was open to the public, filling the 542-seat sanctuary and a 200-seat overflow area.

McBride died of a heart attack Saturday while on a holiday trip in Mount Airy, N.C. He was visiting the hometown of his wife, Alex Sink, also a former gubernatorial candidate. McBride, a Tampa lawyer, lost a bid to become Florida's governor against Jeb Bush in 2002.

Bill McBride touched many lives and it quickly became apparent there would not be enough room inside the Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church to accommodate all of his friends for an afternoon memorial service.

A few dozen ended up standing in the courtyard while his life was celebrated inside the South Tampa church.

"McBride was a servant leader who followed in the footsteps of his Lord and savior Jesus Christ who was also a servant leader. Bill always had something to share," said Reverend Lolimarta Ros Reiter to those who gathered to celebrate his life.

He shared life lessons with everyone he met, including his two children.

"I'll never forget our fishing trips as daddy taught me patience; we spent joyful hours chumming the waters and reeling in yellow tails. I will also never forget the positive example he set for me," said his daughter Lexi McBride Crawford.

His son also spoke of the powerful example his father was on his life.

"He stopped me once and said, it takes just a second of your time to pick that up and put it in the trash can and in that second you've made the world a better place," said Bert McBride. "It was such a small thing, yet it stuck with me."

As a lawyer, Bill McBride helped build the firm Holland and Knight into a legal powerhouse. In 2002, he decided to run for governor and took on Jeb Bush but lost. His wife, Alex Sink later ran for Governor in 2010 taking on Rick Scott, but also came up short. She asked for privacy at Friday's memorial service and greeted hundreds of people in the courtyard of the church after the service away from the cameras.

McBride was 67 years old.

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