CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The life and accomplishments of former West Virginia Congressman and former secretary of State Ken Hechler were recognized in a memorial resolution passed by the House of Delegates Monday.
With Hechler’s widow and stepson on hand, the New York native’s life, which impacted the Mountain State for decades, was highlighted.
Hechler died at the age of 102 last December.
“Members of the House of Delegates hereby publicly memorialize the life of Dr. Ken Hechler and collectively mourn his death while remembering that he leaves behind a legacy of success and accomplishment,” the resolution said in part.
Hechler served nine terms in Congress from 1959 to 1977. The Democrat began his congressional career after teaching one semester at Marshall. He had grown fond of the Huntington campus while traveling with President Harry Truman. Hechler had served in several positions in the Truman administration.
Hechler was a veteran of World War II and served as a combat historian in the Army. He wrote several books including “The Bridge at Remagen.” He had been an eyewitness to that battle in Germany.
Hechler, who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1965 at Selma, Alabama, decided not to file for reelection to Congress in 1976, but instead he sought the Democratic Party’s nomination for governor. He was defeated by a fellow transplant from New York, Jay Rockefeller. He ran for Secretary of State in 1984 and held the position for four terms.