GREENSBORO – Former Rep. Howard Coble died at the age of 84 Tuesday evening after an extended hospitalization. Coble served in the United States House of Representatives from 1984 until January 2015, making him the longest serving Republican House members in North Carolina’s history. Gov. Pat McCrory ordered U.S. and North Carolina flags lowered to half-staff in honor of his passing.
“With the passing of Howard Coble, North Carolina not only lost a wonderful public servant and congressmen, but our state also lost a friend and mentor to so many, including myself,” said McCrory in the order to state agencies. “He was a friend who was genuine, hardworking, sincere and honest. We will all miss our friend, but we’ll never forget him and the good things he did for our country, our state and so many of us individually. Ann and I will keep the Coble family in our prayers during this difficult time.”
North Carolina’s 6th Congressional District includes some or all of Alamance, Caswell, Durham, Guilford, Granville, Orange, Person, Rockingham, Stokes and Surry counties. Coble was succeeded by Mark Walker (R).
“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,” said Walker in a statement released this morning.
Known for his colorful sportcoats, quirky sayings and neighborly kindness, Coble emerged as a statesman in a time in North Carolina politics when Republicans were in the minority. His ability to win supporters with a “D” or an “R” after their name made him a fixture in the U.S. House of Representatives. As a result, Coble was known for his effectiveness.
State Senate leader Phil Berger also issued a statement on Coble’s death.
“I am deeply saddened by the passing of Howard Coble, who was not only my congressman but also my mentor and friend. Congressman Coble was a true North Carolina conservative who cared deeply for his constituents and usually knew them by name. I join those all across our state who are grieving this loss, but I know his long legacy of public service will not be forgotten,” Berger’s statement read.
According to friends, neighbors and colleagues hitting social media this morning, his friendliness and civility in politics will be missed.
We will miss you Rep. Howard Coble pic.twitter.com/dgocddWlQu
— Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (@LtGovDanForest) November 4, 2015
Howard Coble was a dedicated public servant and a champion for his constituents. (1/5) — Virginia Foxx (@virginiafoxx) November 4, 2015
Coble’s family says that plans for a memorial service will be released in the coming days.