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Gov. Tomblin orders flags to half-staff Sunday in honor of Holt

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin ordered Friday that all state flags on state-owned facilities be lowered from dawn to dusk Sunday in honor of former West Virginia Secretary of State Helen Holt.

Tomblin said in a statement that Holt represented West Virginia with distinction.

“Helen was a true public servant during her time as Secretary of State,” Tomblin said. “Throughout her career, she embodied the hard work, perseverance and resolve West Virginians are known for. Joanne and I were truly saddened to learn of her passing, and we extend our deepest sympathies and prayers to all those who loved her.”

Holt was appointed to serve as the secretary of state by then Gov. Cecil Underwood in 1957, making her the first woman to serve in a statewide office.

President Dwight Eisenhower appointed her to establish a program to end unsafe and inefficient nursing homes, a position to which she was reappointed by the following six presidents.

Holt died last Sunday at the age of 101 of heart failure, a month shy of turning 102.

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