CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Helen Holt, the first woman to hold statewide office in West Virginia, celebrated her 100th birthday Friday.
Holt was appointed to Secretary of State in 1957 by then-Gov. Cecil Underwood following the death of Secretary of State D. Pitt O’Brien.
An Illinois native, Holt served for two years before transitioning into the post of West Virginia’s assistant commissioner of public institutions, where she oversaw the women’s prison and homes for the elderly.
That led to an appointment by President Dwight Eisenhower to oversee the construction of safe nursing home facilities. She served for six more presidents in that role.
Current Secretary of State Natalie Tennant met Holt in 2009 and called her a pioneer.
“Helen Holt has become a trusted mentor and a wonderful friend over these last couple years,” Tennant said. “She is someone I can count on to always speak her mind. She is truly a trailblazer in West Virginia.”