CALHOUN — Hundreds gathered in northwest Georgia this weekend to remember Bert Lance, a Georgia banker who served as President Jimmy Carter’s first budget director.
Carter attended Lance’s funeral Saturday and told the Rome News-Tribune that Lance was one of the people who pushed him to run for president. Carter said Lance was one of the most competent and dedicated public servants he has ever known.
“He was always with me like a brother,” he said.
Lance died Thursday at the age of 82. Gordon County coroner’s officials said he had been sick recently and they weren’t immediately sure of his official cause of death.
Lance served as director of the Georgia Department of Transportation while Carter was governor of Georgia.
A federal investigation into questionable banking practices prompted Lance’s resignation from the cabinet position.
He was later cleared of all charges.
One of Lance’s longtime friends, Dick Inman, said as the two would ride through Gordon County, Lance would point out all the businesses he loaned money to for startup costs. Inman said many business owners in the county became successful because of Lance’s help.
“He cared more about a person’s character than he did about their collateral,” Inman said.