24 November 2008

Cecil Harland Underwood, 1922-2008

Former Gov. Cecil Underwood, who held the distinction of being both the youngest and the older West Virginian ever elected to that office, died Monday at age 86, The Associated Press and others report.
In 1956, Underwood became the Mountain State's first Republican governor since the rise of the New Deal Democrats in the 1930s. He reclaimed the state's top office in 1996, before losing a bid for a third term in 2000.

Underwood was a business executive and president of Bethany College in between his gubernatorial terms. He had been hospitalized over the summer.

Others with coverage include the Charleston Daily Mail. MetroNews also has a report, with audio, and reaction from Gov. Joe Manchin; U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-3rd; and state GOP Chairman Doug McKinney.
Manchin has also posted his statement.
Update: Others marking Underwood's passing include U.S. Sens. Robert C. Byrd and Jay Rockefeller, both D-W.Va.; and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-2nd. MetroNews has also posted historical audio from Underwood's 1956 campaign.