HELENA, Mont. -

 William "Red" Menahan, a 30-year legislator from Anaconda and a former educator, has died at age 78.
    
District Judge Mike Menahan says his father died Saturday in Billings of pulmonary fibrosis.
    
Red Menahan was born in Anaconda in 1935. He was a school teacher and principal before being elected to the state House as a Democrat in 1970.
    
He served until 2000, when voter-approved term limits went into effect.
    
Menahan was known for a quick wit that he used to diffuse tension and make a political point.
    
Mike Menahan recalls one budget hearing in which then-Rep. Francis Bardanouve lectured his fellow lawmakers about spending too much money.
    
Menahan says his father told Bardanouve, "I don't want to die tomorrow with today's lunch money in my pocket."