In the rotunda of the State House, where the body of former Gov. Marvin Mandel lay in a flag-draped coffin, former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. stepped away from a throng of mourners to try to describe the man, a friend as well as a towering figure in Maryland's political history.
To Ehrlich's right, a group of Democratic legislators stood chatting. To his left, a few high-profile Republicans traded tales of Mandel.
The groups interacted freely, often laughing. To Ehrlich, a Republican, that made a powerful point about the state's 56th governor, a Democrat.
"Marvin didn't see [political] party," he said. "He saw people, and he saw the state of Maryland, and he did what he thought was best for our state.