Speaker Smith Statement on the Death of House Transportation Chairman Dick Hess

HARRISBURG – Speaker of House Sam Smith (R-Armstrong/Indiana/Jefferson counties) issued the following statement on the death of Rep. Dick Hess (R-Bedford/Fulton/Huntingdon counties). Hess died Friday at UPMC Shadyside Hospital in Pittsburgh due to complications resulting from recent leg surgery.

He was 74 years old and died peacefully surrounded by family.

“Dick Hess and I came in together as freshmen in 1987, and he was always a good friend, colleague and ally on many issues.

“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.”

Funeral and other arrangements are being finalized.

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Representative Dick Hess, Chairman, House Transportation Committee

Rep. Dick Hess (age 74) was first elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1986, taking office in 1987 as a legislator serving 78th State Legislative District in Bedford, Fulton and Huntingdon Counties.

Prior to being elected to the House, Rep. Hess served for 15 years as Bedford County’s Prothonotary and Clerk of Courts, and nearly eight years as chief clerk to the Bedford County Commissioners.

Hess lived in Bedford with his wife, Shirley, of 49 years. Hess has one son, Jeff, daughter-in-law Lizette and three grandchildren, Erika, Zachary and Haden.

Official House Biography:

A dedicated public servant, a devoted family man and an avid sportsman, Rep. Dick L. Hess reflected the conservative views and values of the southcentral region of Pennsylvania that he represents.

He served 14 terms in the House representing the people of the 78th Legislative District, Hess represented a sprawling, rural area that includes all of Fulton County, as well as the Bedford County townships of Bedford, Bloomfield, Broad Top, Colerain, East Providence, East St. Clair, Hopewell, Kimmel, King, Liberty, Lincoln, Mann, Monroe, Napier, Pavia, Snake Spring, South Woodbury, Southampton, West Providence, West St. Clair and Woodbury; and the Bedford County boroughs of Bedford, Coaldale, Everett, Hopewell, New Paris, Pleasantville, Rainsburg, Saxton, Schellsburg, St. Clairsville and Woodbury.

The 78th District also includes the Huntingdon County townships of Carbon, Todd and Wood; and the Huntingdon County boroughs of Broad Top City, Coalmont and Dudley.

The 2013-14 session will mark a new milestone in the House for Hess as he became Majority Chairman of the House Transportation Committee. Hess had been the ranking member of the committee and has had a deep involvement in transportation issues that impact the entire Commonwealth.

In addition, Hess was also the senior member of the House Judiciary Committee and served on the House Rules Committee and Republican Policy Committee. He also served on the PENNVEST Board of Directors.

During the 2011-12 legislative session, Hess served as majority chairman of the House Commerce Committee, which has oversight of banking and economic issues throughout Pennsylvania. 

Hess also served the interests of seniors in the Commonwealth as majority chairman of the House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee in the 2003-04 and 2005-06 legislative sessions

Prior to being elected to the General Assembly in 1986, Hess served 15 years as Bedford County’s prothonotary and clerk of courts. He began his career in public service in 1965, as chief clerk to the Bedford County Commissioners, a position he held for seven years.

Hess was also active in his district. He was a member of the UPMC Bedford Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees, the University of Pittsburgh – Johnstown Advisory Board and the Broad Top Home Nursing Advisory Board.

Hess was a lifetime member of the Saxton Volunteer Fire Company. He also belonged to the Everett Area Republican Club, Bedford Elks Lodge, Bedford Moose Lodge, Bedford American Legion, Bedford County Chamber of Commerce, Fulton County Chamber of Commerce, Bedford County Farm Bureau, Ducks Unlimited, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Yardley Woodside Fish & Game Association, Safari Club International, the Federation of Sportsmen, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the National Rifle Association. Hess was also an active supporter of high school sports teams in his district.

A 1958 graduate of Saxton Liberty High School, Hess resided in Bedford with his wife Shirley, who were members of Bedford United Methodist Church. The Hess’ have one son, Jeff, who is married to Lizette, and they have three children, Erika, Zachary, and Haden.

Representative Sam Smith
66th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact:  Stephen Miskin
SamSmithPaHouse.com / Facebook.com/RepSamSmith
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