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Former Congressman Howard Coble Dies At 84

Congressman Howard Coble is ending is 30 year career in politics. He will be retiring in Greensboro, North Carolina. (Stock Photo)
Rep. Howard Coble died at age 84.

Former Congressman Howard Coble died late Tuesday at age 84. The Republican represented North Carolina's sixth district for 30 years.
Representative Coble was well known for his congenial demeanor, ardent constituent services, and fedora hats.

"Constituents are demanding more accessibility from elected officials than was the case, say, 20 years ago. And I think those demands are justified. I think constituents have every right to expect to see their elected officials frequently," Coble shared that last December, withState of Things Host Frank Stasio.

Here are a few of the reactions from Coble's former colleagues and fellow Republicans.

Richard Burr, Republican U.S. Senator

"Howard Coble was a friend, colleague and a mentor. He was a true statesman and represented his constituents with passion and effectiveness. Howard will be missed but never forgotten by all who called him friend. It's a sad day for North Carolina but it is a joyous occasion that Howard is once again with his parents he loved so much."

Virginia Foxx, Republican U.S. House Representative from North Carolina's 5th district

"Howard Coble was a dedicated public servant and a champion for his constituents. He never backed down from a challenge to do what was right for North Carolina and always pushed Washington to work better for those he represented. Howard was the essence of what it means to be a southern gentleman: someone who simply exuded kindness, charm and compassion. He was a man of integrity and principle, a representative who stood for what is right and who fought on behalf of what makes America great. He will be missed, but his legacy of service and devotion to North Carolina will continue to be the standard that current and future leaders follow."

Mark Walker, Republican U.S. House Rep. from North Carolina's 6th district; Coble's successor

"We are deeply saddened to learn of Congressman Howard Coble's passing today, but we are at peace knowing he is in a better place. Our community was blessed to have had his leadership in Washington for thirty years, but we were even more blessed to call him a friend and mentor.

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.

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 Sixth 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.

Howard was one of a kind. He was a gentleman and one of the most sincere and kindest people I've ever known. Our community not only lost 'Our Congressman' today, but one of our heroes."

Governor Pat McCrory

"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. 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."

In 2013, Coble announced his 15th term would be his last. He notably refused to take a congressional pension in line with his fiscally conservative values.

Coble left office in January. He was hospitalized in September after complications with skin cancer treatment.


Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
Jeff Tiberii covers politics for WUNC. Before that, he served as the station's Greensboro Bureau Chief.
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