GREENSBORO — Former U.S. Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC) died shortly before midnight Tuesday.
The former lawmaker was 84 years-old.
Coble, who represented the 6th congressional district for 30 years, had been battling skin cancer for a lengthy period of time. His tenure in congress began in 1985 and ended with his retirement in 2015. During the final years of his time the 6th District included Mount Airy and Surry County.
The longtime congressman directly preceded current 6th District Rep. Mark Walker, and Coble had a front-row seat to the administration of five presidents during his tenure in the House of Representatives.
Walker issued a statement Wednesday about Coble’s contribution to the country and the 6th District, but he highlighted Coble’s skills as a veteran statesman in his remarks.
“During his time in Washington, Congressman Coble demonstrated that tone and approach still matter in politics. His statesmanship qualities allowed Howard to have friends on both sides of the aisle, which helped him advocate effectively for the needs and concerns of his constituents,” stated Walker.
According to Walker, he even has sought the counsel of Coble since taking the congressional seat.
“When I landed in Washington for the first time in January, there’s no doubt that I had huge shoes to fill. During times back in the 6th District, I would occasionally meet with Howard to receive his feedback. He would share many great stories and some of his favorite jokes. He represented North Carolina with humility, honor, and always a little humor,” the congressman wrote.
U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va), who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, worked closely with Coble throughout the late congressman’s tenure in the House. Goodlate also issued a statement Wednesday afternoon.
“Howard was a true public servant, from his years of military service to his 30 years representing the 6th Congressional District of North Carolina. It was an honor to serve alongside him in the U.S. House of Representatives and on the House Judiciary Committee,” wrote Goodlatte.
Goddlatte added, “but first and foremost it was a true privilege to call him a friend. For many years I played tennis on Wednesday mornings with Howard. His friendship will be dearly missed.”
Coble was, by most accounts, a dedicated public servant. Coble served five years on active duty in the U.S. Coast Guard and 18 years as a reservist. Prior to being elected to congress in the 1984 election, Coble was a practicing attorney for 20 years and served as the state’s Secretary of Revenue under Gov. James Holshauser.
Prior to his 2015 retirement Coble made his last official act as a congressman announcing that North Surry High School graduate John Alexander Bowes III and a Greensboro youngster had been appointed to attend the United States Airforce Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“It is a pleasure to end my 30-year career this way, by nominating two more outstanding young people from our district to attend the Air Force Academy,” said Coble in his last official act as a congressman.
Andy is a staff writer for The News and can be reached at (336) 415-4698.