Former Governor Bruce King Dies

New Mexico – Former New Mexico Gov. Bruce King was a back-slapping, hand-pumping, old-fashioned politician, equally at home on the ranch or in the Roundhouse.

His death marks the end of an era in New Mexico politics.

King was with family members at his ranch in Stanley when he died Friday morning, less than a year after the death of his wife of 61 years, Alice. He was 85.

King served a total of 12 years as governor in separate terms that spanned three decades.

A friend of King for 30 years, former President Bill Clinton that when he was governor of Arkansas, he always tried to sit near King at governors' meetings "knowing if I did I'd get a laugh and a lesson in life and politics."

King's political career covered 40 years. Before being elected governor in 1970, 1978 and 1990, he was a lawmaker and county commissioner.

King's survivors include his sons Gary, who is New Mexico's attorney general, and Bill.

Funeral arrangements were pending.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.