State Rep. Dick L. Hess, a Republican from Bedford who served 26 years in the General Assembly, died Friday in a Pittsburgh hospital from complications related to a recent leg surgery. He was 74.
Hess died at UPMC Shadyside Hospital surrounded by friends and family, Speaker of the House Sam Smith said in a news release.
“Dick Hess and I came in together as freshmen in 1987, and he was always a good friend, colleague and ally on many issues," Smith said. “A devoted family man, Dick will be missed by many more than those of us in the state House. His loss will be felt throughout the 78th Legislative District, from constituents, to the schools and many service organizations he belonged to. He’s been a tireless public servant and truly helped so many people.”
Gov. Tom Corbett, in a news release, called Hess "A champion of economic progress, moral values and individual rights."
Hess served as a member of the House of Representatives since 1987, representing all of Fulton County, as well as portions of Bedford and Huntingdon counties.
In addition to the Transportation and Commerce committees, Hess was also the senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, served on the House Rules Committee and Republican Policy Committee, as well as a member of the PENNVEST Board of Directors.
“In both his role as chairman of the House Commerce Committee and, this session, chairing the House Transportation Committee, Dick placed the economic well-being of Pennsylvania’s citizens foremost," Corbett said. "He was guided in this service by his experience as a prothonotary and clerk of courts in Bedford County, as well as his deep religious faith."
Corbett Friday ordered Pennsylvania flags state-wide at half-staffed. Flags shall remain at half-staff until sunset on the day of his burial.
Hess is survived by his wife, Shirley, their son, Jeff, daughter-in-law, Lizette, and their three grandchildren.