GREENSBORO- One of North Carolina's longest serving members in the U.S. House passed away late Tuesday night.

Howard Coble passed away just before midnight at Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro at the age of 84. He had been hospitalized for complications from skin cancer surgery.

Coble was a Republican and represented District 6 for 30 years in Congress. He retired at the beginning of this year.

TWC News Reporter Bob Costner talked with him about his long life and career in service. 

"I am announcing today that I will seek re-election as Congressman for the 6th district." 

It's an announcement  that was heard many times over the years as Coble sought and won reelection to the US House of Representatives every term since he was first elected in 1984.

 "I don't get up in the morning and dread going to work."

Coble was born in Greensboro in 1931, and after attending Appalachian State he joined the Coast Guard for five years, then served over 20 years as a reservist. He graduated from Guilford College with a degree in history, then got a law degree from Carolina.

In the 60s Coble worked in insurance and practiced law as an assistant Guilford County DA, a US Attorney, and in private practice.

He was also Secretary of Revenue under Governor Holshouser. Coble served in the state House of Representatives before being elected to the US House.

 "I've developed good friendships up there, you come to know your constituents as part of your family."

Coble was Chairman of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. He also served on committees involving Aviation, Maritime and other transportation. A bluegrass fan, he played the banjo player Earl Scruggs. He sponsored bills on intellectual property.

One of the longer serving members of Congress, Coble was known for his conservative voting record.

 "It would be difficult to find too many places where Representative Coble  was departing from the conservative tradition, or was leaving the Republican Party on these issues," said John Dinan, Wake Forest University Professor of Politics and International Affairs.

In later years he had health issues.

He had back surgery in 2012, was hospitalized in early 2013 for fainting, and underwent hernia surgery later in the year but was back on the floor of Congress the day he was released from the hospital.

Coble was recognized for repeatedly declining a Congressional Pension.

A confirmed bachelor, Coble never married.

He frequently returned home to Greensboro and said he was most proud of taking care of constituents and his service in Congress.


Reporter Elyse Mickalonis has local reaction to Coble's passing: