Arizona Daily Wildcat
Biography chronicles Mo's life as UA grad, workaholic
"Mo: The Life and Times of Morris K. Udall" chronicles Udall's childhood in the Mormon community of St. John's and goes on to highlight his time as both a UA student body president and Wildcat basketball player.
Many chapters are dedicated to individual accomplishments Udall made during his 30 years in the House of Representatives, such as the Alaska Lands Act of 1980 and an ambitious water project known as the Central Arizona Project.
"He was a visionary in his time," Johnson said. "He called for (racial) integration of the army in 1946, before Harry Truman did it a few years later. In 1971, (he pushed for) campaign finance reform."
Udall, a liberal Democrat possessing Republican trends, crossed party lines and sponsored legislation with both parties, Carson said.
"He was able to (cross lines) because he was a man of high integrity and high power," Carson said. "When situations became explosive, he was able to diffuse them with humor."
In the middle of his congressional career, Parkinson's disease took affect over Udall's body. Although he did not become bedridden until 1991, Udall knew he had been ill with the disease since 1978.
"He had guts - he was not a quitter," Carson said. "His struggle with Parkinson's and his reasonably successful attempt to continue as a congressman and leader was heroic."
Several community members and Arizona newspapers called for Udall to resign, yet, he refused to go into hiding just because of how he looked to other people, Carson said.
Udall continued to do his job right up until he fell backwards down several steps Jan. 6, 1991. He officially resigned May 4, 1991 when his deteriorating health showed no signs of improvement.
Even when laying in bed, trapped in his own body, his mind was strong, Johnson said.
"We saw him and he was in a coma - he couldn't communicate at all," he said.
Nearly eight years later, Udall died in his sleep from heart failure.