09/17/2012 03:27 EDT | Updated 11/17/2012 05:12 EST

Albertans pay respects to former premier Lougheed

Thousands of people are expected to pay their respects to Alberta's late former premier Peter Lougheed Monday and Tuesday.

Mourners are filing past Lougheed's casket in the rotunda of the Alberta legislature in Edmonton, while members of his family accept their condolences.

According to the premier’s office, Lougheed is Alberta’s first premier to lie in state in the legislature.

Many of those waiting in line Monday harkened back to a time when politicians stood straighter and Alberta's sun was rising.

"The man was an amazing visionary for what he saw Alberta could become," said Al McCalder, who was inspired by Lougheed enough to move to Alberta from Ontario in 1978. "It was exciting and the land of opportunity."

"He turned our province into a great powerhouse," said Wayne Bard. "He was such a nice man himself. He really was of the people and yet very brillant at the same time."

Many people believed Lougheed's strength was his ability to relate to people.

"He was willing to listen to what people have to say," said Janice Miller. "I think we're a better country for his life."

"He never said a bad word about anyone ever, even in private," said Franklin Loehde. "He had tremendous amount of respect for others even in other politiical parties."

Lougheed's body will lie in state until 6 p.m. Tuesday.

His family will hold a private funeral.

State memorial

The Alberta government announced Monday that a state memorial to honour former Premier Peter Lougheed will be held Friday Sept. 21 at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium in Calgary.

The service will begin at 1 p.m. MT and while seats are reserved for family members, colleagues and government officials, limited seating will also be made available to the public on a first-come first-seated basis at 10 a.m.

The memorial will be broadcast live.

The province is also making books of condolence available at government offices across the province and online.

Lougheed died last week at age 84.

He led the Progressive Conservatives to a sweeping, but surprising victory in 1971. He remained premier until 1985, with his party holding power ever since.