He always had ‘a kind word, a gentle smile'

What people had to say Tuesday, in interviews and eulogies, about the late U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms:

“Anyone who passed by Jesse Helms in the Capitol or worked in his office would remember him as one of the kindest men they ever knew. No matter who they were, he always had a kind word and gentle smile.”

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell

“The greatest lesson my grandfather taught me was the lesson of love.”

Jennifer Knox, Helms' granddaughter and a Wake County District Court judge

Helms had to be chuckling that he “ruined the vacations plans of those big-city editors” by dying on July 4.

Jimmy Broughton, Helms' former chief of staff

“He insisted that everything be answered, politely and to help people as much as possible, in battles with the federal bureaucracy.”

Bill Berryhill, former U.S. Marshal and former Helms aide

“He was like our American voice.”

Olga Santo-Tomas, a Cuban American from Raleigh, who said Cuban Americans admired Helms' opposition to Fidel Castro

“He was the nicest guy I ever knew. That's what the public who didn't know him didn't know.”

John Dodd, director of the Jesse Helms Center