“I think Mike’s biggest quality was he could get along with everyone in politics. He was a consensus builder, and he did a lot of good for Charles County, a whole lot more than I thought he ever got credit for,” Mayer said. “Later in life, he was just enjoying life, and it’s a shame that, at such an age, he’s gone. We’re going to miss him.”
A Republican, Mayer said Sprague was one of the first Democrats to support his first run for county commissioner in 1994.
“With Mike, it didn’t matter what label you had. He cared about who was best for the county,” Mayer said. “It’s too bad we don’t have more of that today.”
John Hanson Briscoe, who served in the House from 1962 to 1979 and led the chamber as speaker during Sprague’s first term as a delegate, remembers first meeting then-commissioner at a forum in La Plata.
He recalled fondly Sprague’s answer to one constituent who asked the commissioner why he was running for the legislature.
“He said, ‘I really don’t like this job much,’ ” Briscoe said, adding that Sprague promised to “spend their money like I spend mine” if he was elected to Annapolis.
“If you know Mike Sprague, he was very frugal,” Briscoe said. “He was a tightwad and a fiscal conservative.
“He was a good legislator, great sense of humor, great kidder. He loved to kid and joke. He was very conscientious, and he really made sure that what he did was for the betterment of Southern Maryland. He was a real Southern Maryland boy. That came first. He never looked at greater statewide ambitions.”
The family has asked that memorial contributions be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, National Capital Area Chapter, at www.lls.org or by mail to Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, 5845 Richmond Hwy., Alexandria, Va. 22303.