CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A longtime member of the West Virginia House of Delegates has died at the age of 90.
Delegate Frank Deem (R-Wood, 10) passed away before 7:30 a.m. Wednesday at Camden Clark Medical Center in Parkersburg, according to information from the House.
“With immense sadness, the House of Delegates today grieves the death of not just one of our own, but a man who has been a fixture of West Virginia government and politics for more than a half-century,” said House Speaker Roger Hanshaw (R-Clay, 33) in a statement.
A U.S. Navy veteran, Deem was first elected to the House in 1954 and served 48 total years in the Legislature, including time in both the House and state Senate.
His most recent House stint began with his election in 2014.
“Frank Deem devoted a lifetime of service to the citizens of his district and the people of our state, and leaves behind a legacy of fierce advocacy for conservative principles that have made West Virginia a better place,” Hanshaw said.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to his wife Becky, his children, grandchildren and the legacy of life he leaves behind.”
Melody Potter, West Virginia Republican Party chair, said the following of Deem:
“Today, we are mourning the loss of a great West Virginian. The thoughts and prayers of the West Virginia Republican Party rest with the family, friends, and loved ones of Delegate Frank Deem,” she said.
Potter called Deem “a proud public servant, devoted to his family and committed to his community.”
She continued, “Delegate Deem was a leader in the West Virginia Legislature and served the public with distinction. He strived to make our state a better place to live. We are thankful for his commitment to West Virginia families.”
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) October 10, 2018
Senate President Mitch Carmichael (R-Jackson, 04) called Deem a friend.
“Frank was an institution in the West Virginia Legislature with his public service going back to the 1950s,” Carmichael said.
“He was a statesman of the highest order, a proud Navy veteran, and a tireless advocate for making West Virginia a great place to live, work, and raise a family.”
House Minority Whip Mike Caputo (D-Marion, 50) said “West Virginia has lost a true public servant.”
“Frank was a friend and colleague for many years. I will miss his candor, his sense of humor, and his love for our great state. My heart goes out to his wife, Becky, and to all those who had the privilege to know Frank,” Caputo said.
A “war horse” was how U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) described Deem on Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
“Frank didn’t care — Democrat or Republican — if it was right it was right and if it was wrong it was wrong and you couldn’t make wrong right no matter how hard you tried in Frank’s mind,” Manchin said.
“My God, the Frank Deems don’t come by that often anymore.”