In April 1991, Morris K. Udall resigned his seat in the House of Representatives after 30 years of service and what Speaker
Carl Albert called "one of the most remarkable legislative records of all time." Suffering from Parkinson's disease, Mo had
fallen at his home several months earlier and suffered several broken bones and a cerebral contusion which deprived him of
the ability to speak.
A few weeks later, Mo's colleagues in the House of Representatives rose one by one to pay affectionate tribute. Wayne Owens of
Utah wondered, "How is it possible that a man could serve in this body for 30 years, be a crusading and controversial ideologue
who challenged its systems and perks, yet became one of its most productive and creative legislators, and finished his service
without any enemy, thousands of devoted friends, and millions of admirers?" As Tom Bevill of Alabama rose to honor "one of the
finest colleagues I have ever had the privilege to serve with," he alluded to Mo's famous penchant for humorous stories: "Mo
Udall has been one of my closest friends in Congress, despite the fact that he borrowed my mule joke. I won't tell it here, but
just remember that it's my joke when you do hear it."
Although many that day praised Mo's charm and sense of humor, again and again they mentioned his integrity, his ability to lead
by consensus, and his legislative achievements. Robert A. Roe of New Jersey said simply, "Mo Udall came to Congress to make a
difference - and he showed the Members of the House how it could be done." Jim Kolbe of Arizona declared, "There is no Member
who has strode across the Halls of this Congress and left such an imprint as he has. It is by virtue of the personality, the
integrity and the character of the man himself." George Miller of California summed up Mo's contributions to his two principal
concerns, environmental preservation and Native American rights.
"Every day, somewhere in the United States, someone is rafting, canoeing, hiking or camping on land that was, in one way or
another, touched by Mo Udall.
Somewhere in the United States, there is wilderness or wildlands that have been preserved for this and future generations by
Our National Park System is today twice as big as it was because Mo Udall made it happen.
He cared greatly, and worked hard, on behalf of American Indians and the people of America's territories. Mo fought on their
behalf for improved education, health, and welfare...
Future generations will talk about what a Member of Congress should be... Those future generations need only point to Mo Udall
and say, 'That's how it should be done.'"
In May 1991, Senator Dennis DeConcini of Arizona sponsored legislation to establish a Foundation that would "honor the legacy
of Morris K. Udall by carrying on his work" -- the Udall Scholarship and Excellence in National Environmental Policy
Act (S. 1176). Senator Edward Kennedy joined in sponsoring the measure, saying, "He will rank as one of the greatest Members
of the House of Representatives of all time, and also as one of the most beloved... Somehow, for 30 years, whenever you probed
to the heart of the great concerns of the day, you found Mo Udall in the thick of the battle, championing the rights of average
citizens against special interest pressures, defending the highest ideals of America, and always doing it with the special grace
and wit that were his trademark and that endeared him to Democrats and Republicans alike."