EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSHULETT C. SMITH
from Eyewitness News Online
West Virginia's 27th Governor Laid To Rest
Reported by: Leslie Rubin
Web Producer: Leslie Rubin
Also Contributing: WOAY-TV
Reported: Jan. 27, 2012 9:00 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 27, 2012 9:17 PM EST
Beckley , West Virginia
Family and friends are paying their final respects to West Virginia's 27th governor.
Former Governor Hulett C. Smith was laid to rest on Friday after lying in repose in a theatre named after him at Tamarack in Beckley.
"He was just a gregarious kind of guy that loved life and loved people with whom he associated," said Greenbrier Circuit Court Judge Jim Rowe.
More than 150 people gathered at the Beckley Presbyterian Church to pay tribute to Smith's life.
"I think he'll be remembered for bringing the first regulations to surface mining in West Virginia, and for signing the bill that ended the death penalty," said his former press secretary Jack Canfield.
When Smith signed the bill ending the state's use of the death penalty, he noted West Virginia was the 9th state to do so and it would prevent wrongful convictions leading to executions.
Those who knew Smith best say he was more than a governor and will be remembered as a true public servant and family man.
"Hulett was a man who experienced many seasons of life who was blessed to taste much of what life has to offer," said Rev. John McKinnon.
Smith was also a U.S. Navy World War II veteran. Military members and leaders from across the state came to pay their final respects.
"He always worked hard to make the community better and make the people around him feel good about themselves and about the possibilities that things could be much better than they were," said Judge Rowe.
Smith led the state from 1965-1969. He passed away at an assistant living home in Arizona at the age of 93.
Smith was buried at the Sunset Memorial Park. The family has asked for donations to the Beckley Area Foundation or Beckley Presbyterian Church in lieu of flowers.
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