CHERRY HILL, N.J. (CBS) – More than a thousand people gathered this afternoon in Cherry Hill, NJ, to say goodbye to former state senator and US congressman John Adler, who passed away Monday at the age of 51 (see related story).

At least a thousand people came out to Temple Emanuel synagogue today: commonfolk who dealt with Adler as a neighbor or perhaps in his professional capacity as a lawyer, and of course the political community including former fellow US congressman Jim Saxton, a longtime Republican whom Adler replaced in Washington back in 2008, only to be defeated two years later by current congressman Jon Runyan.

New Jersey governor Chris Christie led the list of dignitaries attending services, but it was onetime constituents like Vietnam War veteran Donald Smieszek who best summed up the feelings here.

“He was a great man. He had a lot more to do. But everybody has to go sooner or later,” Smieszek told KYW Newsradio.

Among his accomplishments: getting the ball rolling on a statewide Clean Air Act and the creation of no-smoking zones in various areas throughout the state.

Adler leaves behind a wife, four sons, and a political legacy many feel will be hard to match.

Reported by David Madden, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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