Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt was among the last people to interact with Katharine Graham before a fall outside a in Sun Valley, Idaho, condominium last week led to her death.
Leavitt and Graham were attending an invitation-only meeting of high-profile business, media and government leaders put on each year by Allen & Co., an investment banking firm.
The governor said he spent quite a bit of time with Graham and her son Donald at the conference this year and last. He also has been her guest at dinner several times.
"You were always struck by her charm and how down to earth she is," Leavitt said. Graham had a "sense of realness that made you feel comfortable."
Leavitt, whose condo at Sun Valley was a few doors down from Graham's, said he saw her just minutes before she stumbled on a concrete walkway Saturday.
The governor said he wasn't aware Graham had fallen until he returned home Sunday. He described her death as a "real shocker."
"It was a stark reminder of just how fragile life is," Leavitt said.