Longtime state Rep. Dick Hess died Friday at age 74 from complications that arose after recent leg surgery.
Hess died at UPMC Shadyside, surrounded by his family.
Hess was a 14-term veteran of the House, where he most recently chaired the Transportation Committee.
A Republican, his district ran through Bedford, Fulton and Huntingdon counties in Western Pennsylvania.
Gov. Tom Corbett ordered Pennsylvania flags to be lowered to half-staff at the Capitol Complex and at all state facilities.
“Dick Hess was a champion of economic progress, moral values and individual rights — principles he represented unfailingly in his 26 years in the General Assembly,'' Corbett said in a statement.
“In both his role as chairman of the House Commerce Committee and, this session, chairing the House Transportation Committee, Dick placed the economic well-being of Pennsylvania's citizens foremost,” Corbett said. “He was guided in this service by his experience as a prothonotary and clerk of courts in Bedford County, as well as his deep religious faith.”
House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Bradford Woods, and his wife, Lidia, offered their condolences.
“We are saddened by the news of Chairman Hess's death, and extend our sincerest sympathies to his family,” Turzai said in a statement. “Dick was a tireless advocate for the people of the 78th District and was a devoted legislator, hard-working chairman, and a friend — he will be missed.”
Hess and his wife of 49 years, Shirley, lived in Bedford. Hess has one son, Jeff, daughter-in-law, Lizette, and three grandchildren, Erika, Zachary and Haden, according to his official biography.
Funeral arrangements were being finalized.
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