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UPDATE: Visitation Thursday for Former W.Va. Governor Hulett C. Smith

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 1/27/12 @ 9 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Services to honor the life of former West Virginia Governor Hulett Smith will begin Thursday in Beckley.

Smith died last week in Scottsdale, Arizona.

During Smith's term from 1965 to 1969, the legislature passed measures to control air and water pollution and to protect human rights. Smith signed bills in the 1960s that abolished the state's death penalty and implemented its first strip mining laws.

Smith was 93-years-old.

Visitation will be held at the Tamarack Conference Center in Beckley from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Thursday and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday.

The former governor's funeral is set for 2 p.m. at Beckley Presbyterian Church.



UPDATE 1/17/12
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is honoring former West Virginia Gov. Hulett C. Smith by ordering the lowering of flags at state facilities.

Tomblin on Tuesday issued a proclamation ordering the immediate lowering of all U.S. and state flags to half-staff in Smith's honor.

Smith died Sunday in Arizona at the age of 93.

The Beckley native first ran for governor in 1960, but failed to win his party's nomination. The Democrat was elected four years later, at a time when governors were limited to a single term.

During his tenure as the state's 27th governor, the Legislature enacted measures to control air and water pollution and to protect human rights. Smith signed bills in the 1960s that abolished the state's death penalty and implemented its first strip mining laws.



ORIGINAL STORY 1/16/12
BECKLEY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Former West Virginia Governor, Hulett C. Smith has died.

Smith, 93, was W.Va.’s 27th governor. He died Sunday in Scottsdale, Arizona, according to his family in a news release.

Smith was governor from 1965 until 1969.

He moved from his home in Beckley to an Arizona assisted living facility last fall.

The Democrat first ran for governor in 1960, but failed to win
his party's nomination. Four years later he won the state's top job and served at a time when governors were limited to a single term.

During Smith's term, the Legislature enacted measures to control air and water pollution and to protect human rights. He signed the state's first strip mining law and the bill by which West Virginia abolished the death penalty.

Born in Beckley in 1918, he was the son of the late Joe L. Smith and Christine Carlson Smith. His father was a member of Congress for eight consecutive terms.

Smith graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School and the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania. He was active in insurance, health care and banking in his private career. A licensed pilot, he served as a lieutenant during World War II in the United States Navy.

In 1942, he married the late Mary Alice Tieche of Beckley, who was First Lady during Smith’s term as Governor. They celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in the Governor’s Mansion. She died in 1987. They were the parents of six children. In 1990, he married Nancy Pat Lewis of Beckley, who passed away in 2009.

Governor Smith was predeceased by his sons Hulett, Jr. and Mark.

He is survived by his children Carolyn H. Sheets and husband George of Columbus, Ohio; Alice Christine Merritt of Atlanta, Ga.; Suzaine Smith of Boulder, Colo.; and Paul Smith and wife Patti of Beckley. In addition, he is survived by 12 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Melton Mortuary in Beckley is handling arrangements. He attended Beckley Presbyterian Church. A funeral service at Beckley Presbyterian Church will be held as soon as arrangements are complete.



Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin issued the following statement today after learning of the death of former West Virginia Governor Hulett C. Smith:
"West Virginia is in mourning for one of our native sons who became a champion for better state government during some of the most turbulent times in America's history," Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said. "Gov. Smith enabled our state to take monumental steps forward during his time in office. Today, we remember the progress made under his leadership, and the man who led the way. Joanne and I send our heartfelt sympathies to his family."

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito released the following statement on the passing of former governor Hulett Smith:
“My parents and I mourn the loss of former Governor Hulett Smith. He was a true leader and a kind gentleman who left a positive mark on our state. When my father was elected Governor, Hulett and Mary Alice were gracious and helpful during the transition, and they remained lifelong friends. We will keep his family in our thoughts and prayers.”


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