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Hess, veteran Pennsylvania lawmaker, dies after surgery at UPMC Shadyside

| Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, 1:36 p.m.
Republican Pennsylvania Rep. Dick Hess, 74, died today due to complications from recent leg surgery.

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 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, a 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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