Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin issued a proclamation today ordering all U.S. and State flags displayed at all State facilities be displayed at half-staff immediately in honor of former West Virginia Gov. Hulett C. Smith, who has died at age 93.
Smith, a Beckley W.Va. native, attended Woodrow Wilson High School, Beckley College and the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania. In the private sector, he worked in insurance, health care, banking and radio. During World War II Smith served as a lieutenant in the United States Navy.
Smith carried 53 counties in 1964 primary, receiving more votes than his three opponents combined. Smith was elected in November and served as governor from 1965 until 1969.
During his administration, Smith signed into law the bill repealing the death penalty in West Virginia, endorsed a constitutional amendment creating the "Modern Budget Amendment" making the governor responsible for developing the state budget, and launched major environmental initiatives regulating strip mining and air pollution. In addition, Gov. Smith initiated a "government to the people" program that enabled interaction between citizens and public officials.
Smith later served on many boards and commissions primarily focused on transportation, education and the arts. He also served on the National Council for Revision of State Constitutions and the Judicial Inquiry Commission. A close friend of former President Jimmy Carter, Smith worked closely with the Carters in growing the Friendship Force.
"Gov. Smith made significant contributions to our state during his tenure," said Gov. Tomblin. "He worked hard for the people and achieved much success, despite the turbulent times affecting the nation. Gov. Smith will long be remembered for the advancements made under his leadership."
Smith, West Virginia's 27th governor, died Jan. 15, 2012 in Scottsdale Ariz. He was predeceased by his first wife, former First Lady Mary Alice Tieche, who died in 1987, his second wife, Nancy Pat Lewis, who passed away in 2009, and 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.
All flags will remain at half-staff until dusk on the day of services for former West Virginia Governor Hulett Smith.