Utahns lined up outside the Governor's Mansion this afternoon to view the body of former Gov. Cal Rampton and remember the state's longest-serving chief executive.

"It's a wonderful opportunity to just pay your deep respect, especially to someone who was so well-thought of," former Rampton administration employee Gloria Hunt said after walking through the mansion's grand hall, where Rampton's flag-draped casket was placed.

Hunt, who worked for what was then the state Department of Highways, said Rampton would be surprised at the number of people gathered for the service arranged by Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. at the mansion.

"He was a very humble man," Hunt said.

Rampton's eldest living child, Janet Warburton, said her father would have questioned whether anyone would even recall his service to the state. "He'd say, 'Nobody remembers me any more. I'm an old man.'"

But the service made it clear that Utahns have not forgotten the man known to most as simply "The Governor," a Democrat who served three terms from 1965 to 1977 and is credited with bringing the state into the modern era.

Huntsman offered the mansion as the place for his late predecessor to lie in state because the State Capitol is closed for a massive, multi-year renovation. Huntsman said he wanted "to share some of the governor's legacy right here in the mansion."

Former Salt Lake Tribune publisher Jack Gallivan, who grew up in the mansion, said the setting was a better choice than the Capitol rotunda for his longtime friend. "It's a much warmer setting," said Gallivan, who was the first person to walk by Rampton's coffin.

Members of the Rampton family arrived with the body of the late governor at the mansion at 11 a.m., and spent time sharing memories with Huntsman and first lady Mary Kaye Huntsman before the mansion doors were opened to the public at noon.

Utahns will be able to pay their respects until 4 p.m.

Rampton, who was in hospice care after suffering a stroke and earlier being diagnosed with cancer, died last Sunday at 93. Funeral services are set for 11 a.m. Friday at the Salt Lake Parleys LDS Stake Center, 1870 E. Parleys Canyon Blvd.

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