State Politics

Former Idaho Lt. Gov. Ricks, ‘a man of great character,’ dies

Mark Ricks shares a laugh with his wife, Evelyn, outside the committee room where his nomination as lieutenant govenor was being debated in 2006.
Mark Ricks shares a laugh with his wife, Evelyn, outside the committee room where his nomination as lieutenant govenor was being debated in 2006. Statesman file

Mark Ricks, a former lieutenant governor and state senator from Rexburg, died Thursday. He was 92.

He was the great-grandson of Thomas Ricks, founder of Mormon-owned Brigham Young University-Idaho, which until 2001 was known as Ricks College.

Ricks served 16 years in the state Senate before retiring. Then in June 2006, Lt. Gov Jim Risch ascended to the governor’s job when Gov. Dirk Kempthorne resigned to become U.S. interior secretary. Risch appointed Ricks to the post of lieutenant governor in June, and Ricks served until January 2007.

“One of my good friends, when he became aware I was going to asked to be lieutenant governor, told me, ‘I’ve got some advice for you: Don’t call out the National Guard,’” Ricks told The Associated Press in 2006. “I’m anticipating that if something comes up, Gov. Risch will call.”

Ricks said his appointment was a recognition that the residents of eastern Idaho needed better representation in Boise.

“The people over here were just elated when I was chosen to be the lieutenant governor, because it gives them some representation,” he said. “Most of the people in eastern Idaho have the attitude that state government exists in the town of Boise.”

U.S. Sen. Risch said Friday that Ricks was “a man of great character and a loyal friend.”

“Mark was a gentleman and a statesman and his reputation for trustworthiness was legendary,” said Risch. “He was more than a friend; he was a trusted confidant and adviser to me.”

Funeral services are set for for 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, at Rexburg 19th Ward LDS Chapel, 2332 W. 2000 S.

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