By Hunter Hines
Christian Action League
November 5, 2015
RALEIGH – Often recognized by the signature madras-patched sport jacket that he donned, former U.S. Rep. Howard Coble passed away Tuesday. Hospitalized since September after treatment for skin cancer, Coble succumbed at the age of 84.
Coble, a Republican, served the 6th congressional district from 1985-2015. The district includes ten counties in the northern-central part of North Carolina, including parts of Durham and Greensboro. He was the longest serving Republican House member in North Carolina history.
Coble was succeeded by Baptist pastor and Republican Rep. Mark Walker of Guilford County.
Cobles’ political career also included a stint in the North Carolina House of Representatives, serving from 1979 to the time of his election to Congress in 1984.
He was a veteran that had served in the United States Coast Guard for over five years and as a reservist for 18 years.
“His resume was long and stellar,” said Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “He had been a practicing attorney and served as Secretary of Revenue under the incomparable Governor Jim Holshouser. But I think it was his old-style politics – the way it was common to see him at a parade or an Eagle Scout’s ceremony that helped make him the endearing figure he was. He made you feel like he was concerned about you. He invested himself in the people he represented, which always has a powerful impact.”
Cobles’ passing lit-up various media outlets with statements from many North Carolina leaders who considered him a friend and mentor.
Governor Pat McCrory said, ‘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.”
North Carolina Senate President Pro-Tempore, Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) said, “I am deeply saddened by the passing of Howard Coble, who was not only my congressman but also my mentor and friend. Congressman Coble was a true North Carolina conservative who cared deeply for his constituents and usually knew them by name. I join those all across our state who are grieving this loss, but I know his long legacy of public service will not be forgotten.”
U.S. Senator Thom Tillis, said, “He was the true embodiment of a public servant who put the needs of constituents before all else, utilizing civility and finding common ground to solve problems both local and national…The many constituents, friends, and former staffers who had the honor of knowing Howard over the years will always remember his sterling character and gentle kindness, highlighted by a legendary sense of humor. Our nation would be far better off if we had more public servants like Howard Coble. He will be dearly missed by the people of North Carolina.”
Marcus Kindley, a long-time friend of Cobles’ and a former chairman of the Guilford GOP, said in a Facebook post regarding Coble’s bachelor status, “You know, I believe Howard Coble was married to the 6th District. He loved it. He cared for it. He provided for it. He was there to listen and solve problems…and you had better not mess with his children.”
Dr. Creech also noted Coble was the kind of politician who took a hard-lined approach on illegal drugs. “He once co-sponsored a resolution in Congress to oppose the legalization of medical marijuana. What’s more, he voted for an amendment that authorized drug testing on federal employees. I would hope some of the younger generation of aspiring Republicans would learn from his example. I think he would have agreed that liberty doesn’t mean license – license to throw away and diminish life, or put others at risk with mind-alerting drugs,” said Dr. Creech.
Visitation with the family has been scheduled for Tuesday, November 10th, at Westover Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, 505 Muirs Chapel Road, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, with the memorial service immediately following. The graveside will be private.