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Longtime state rep. dies at 74

Updated: Friday, September 6 2013, 02:27 PM CDT
Posted by: Lauren McLane (

HARRISBURG -- State officials have released statements on the death of Rep. Dick L. Hess, R-Bedford, who died today at age 74.

“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," Gov Tom Corbett said in a press release.

“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. 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.

“Susan and I send our deepest condolences to Dick’s wife, Shirley, their son, Jeff, daughter-in-law, Lizette, and their three grandchildren," Corbett said.

Corbett also ordered all Pennsylvania flags lowered to half-staff immediately at the Capitol Complex and at commonwealth facilities statewide in honor of Hess. Flags shall remain at half-staff until sunset on the day of his burial. U.S. flags should be flown at full-staff during this period. 

Hess served as a member of the House of Representatives since 1987, representing all of Fulton County, as well as portions of Bedford and Huntingdon counties. 

In addition to the Transportation and Commerce committees, Hess was also the senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, served on the House Rules Committee and Republican Policy Committee, as well as a member of the PENNVEST Board of Directors.

“Dick Hess and I came in together as freshmen in 1987, and he was always a good friend, colleague and ally on many issues. A devoted family man, Dick will be missed by many more than those of us in the state House. His loss will be felt throughout the 78th Legislative District, from constituents, to the schools and many service organizations he belonged to. He’s been a tireless public servant and truly helped so many people,” Speaker of the House Sam Smith, R-66, said.

Prior to being elected to the House, Rep. Hess served for 15 years as Bedford County’s Prothonotary and Clerk of Courts, and nearly eight years as chief clerk to the Bedford County Commissioners.

Hess lived in Bedford with his wife, Shirley, of 49 years. Hess has one son, Jeff, one daughter-in-law, Lizette, and three grandchildren, Erika, Zachary and Haden.

Longtime state rep. dies at 74

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