It was a fitting tribute for the man many are calling a gentleman and statesman as thousands packed into the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium to remember former premier E. Peter Lougheed.

Lougheed was premier from 1971 to 1985 and is credited with transforming the province into an economic powerhouse.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Alberta Premier Alison Redford and Jim Dinning spoke at the event which was emceed by Lougheed's former cheif of staff, Lee Richardson.

The service began at 1 p.m. and included a video and musical tribute and remarks from poliitical analyst Rex Murphy.

Lougheed's son, Stephen spoke about the compassion and wisedom that he learned from his father and what a great friend and mentor he was.

"Dad always found the best in people and found ways to surround himself with good people. He was a tireless worker and that tended to bring out the best in others, and it even occaisionally rubbed off on his kids," said Stephen.

Lougheed was known across the country and former Quebec premier Jean Charest, former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow and current Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall were all in attendance to pay their repsects to their collegue and friend.

Prime Minister Harper called Lougheed a great Canadian.

"Now for those of us who like strong, stable majority conservative governments, that is reason enough to call Peter Lougheed a great man. But I do so for reasons that are much deeper and much more significant. That is to say, what Peter Lougheed did with that electoral success. I don't speak merely of policies that were in the main highly successful. I refer instead to what lay behind those policies. What drove premier Lougheed...what Albertans recognized very early on. He brought to the job intelligence, integrity, energy, a clear and practical sense of direction and an unwavering commitment to what he believed to be the wider public interest," said Harper.

Alberta Premier Alison Redford talked about Lougheed's decency.

 "He treated his rivals and critics with the respect he felt everyone deserved," said Redford."Last week Albertans lost an icon and truly great leader. Peter Lougheed had the golden touch."

Earlier this week, hundreds of Albertans, including former premiers Ed Stelmach and Don Getty, filed past Lougheed's coffin in the rotunda of the legislature in Edmonton.

His family held a private funeral for him Thursday in Calgary.

Peter Lougheed is the first Alberta premier to have a state memorial.