She was known worldwide as the Iron Lady. But here in West Texas, to Texas Tech University System Chancellor Kent Hance, she was a gracious acquaintace and had a good memory.
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was laid to rest Wednesday in London. She died April 8 at the age of 87.
Hance first met Thatcher in the early 1980s when he was a congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives under President Ronald Reagan.
“The first time I met her she knew I’d been helping President Reagan with his agenda. She was a big fan of his, I like them both,” said Hance. “Then later, I sponsored a luncheon for her. There were five or six members of Congress that were fans of hers, and we had a luncheon at the Capitol honoring her.”
But Hance’s fondest memory of her came many years later when they were both out of office.
“I saw her probably 10 or 15 years later in Houston at an event. I went up to her, told her who I was. She said, ‘I remember who you are. You carried Reagan’s tax cut,’” added Hance. “I was really impressed that she would remember that.”
There are many conflicting opinions on whether or not Thatcher’s time in office was good for Great Britain, but Hance thinks she will be remembered positively.
“I think her legacy will be she at least got the economy in Great Britain turned around,” said Hance. “The private sector couldn’t get things moving, and they weren’t creating many jobs. There was too much government, too much government spending, taxes were too high, and she got that all turned around.”
No matter what the political or personal opinions about her were, Hance said there was no mistaking that she had nerves of steel.
“She was a very charming lady. Had a great presence about her, but you knew that she was a strong, strong person. She was not the type that would back away,” said Hance. “They didn’t call her the Iron Lady for nothing!”