State Politics

Report: Former NC congressman Howard Coble dies

File Photo: Rep. Howard Coble in his former congressional office in Washington, D.C. A painting of a Coast Guard icebreaker he served on as a young man leans against the wall beside him.
File Photo: Rep. Howard Coble in his former congressional office in Washington, D.C. A painting of a Coast Guard icebreaker he served on as a young man leans against the wall beside him. McClatchy

Retired North Carolina congressman Howard Coble, who represented the north-central part of the state in the U.S. House for three decades, has died, a Greensboro television station is reporting.

WFMY reported Wednesday that Coble’s brother said the 84-year-old former congressman died late Tuesday.

“J.Howard Coble passed away at 11:40 p.m., Nov. 3 after an extended hospitalization,” Ray Coble Jr. told WFMY. “The family wishes to thank Dr. Ali Hajazi and the staff of the Select Specialty Hospital in Greensboro for their excellent care. The community will be notified of funeral arrangements when complete.”

WFMY said Coble was hospitalized last fall after complications from surgery for skin cancer.

Coble represented North Carolina’s 6th Congressional District from 1985 until retiring in early January, the longest-serving Republican House member in the state’s history. In 2013, he cited his health in announcing he would not seek re-election, the Associated Press reported at the time.

The 6th congressional district spreads across 10 counties, including portions of Guilford, Durham and Orange counties.

The Greensboro native was considered an old-school politician, often seen wearing a trademark fedora and mosaic sport jacket while shaking hands with constituents and touring local plants. Coble, who was born in Greensboro, has an intimacy with the region — liking to ask voters where they went to high school and proceeding to recall the school’s mascot. He said in 2013 he was proud of his accessibility to voters, noting that he participated in more than 200 local Christmas parades and 200 Boy Scout Eagle Scout ceremonies.

He was probably best known for refusing to take a congressional pension in the name of fiscal conservatism and leading a subcommittee on intellectual property issues and the Internet in the web’s early heydays. The Associated Press contributed.

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