Ken Hechler

Rep. Ken Hechler, D-WV
e-WV / WV Humanitites Council

Congressman Ken Hechler was born in New York on September 20, 1914—and celebrated his 100th birthday in 2014.

During World War II, he served as a combat historian and earned the bronze star and five battle stars. Afterward, he taught at Princeton University and served on President Harry Truman’s staff.

Shepherd Hosts Hechler Screening

Mar 13, 2017

The Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education, Lifelong Learning Program and West Virginia Public Broadcasting proudly present “Ken Hechler: In Pursuit of Justice”, the story of the former U.S. Congressman, West Virginia Secretary of State, university professor, author, and environmental activist, who changed the face of West Virginia politics.   

Congressman Ken Hechler paid to bring hundreds of miners and the widows of the Farmington miners to protest at the nation’s capitol.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

On December 30, 1969, President Richard Nixon signed into law the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act.  Since the Monongah mine disaster in Marion County more than 60 years earlier, Congress had been passing laws to address coal mine safety. However, most were filled with loopholes or lacked funding for enforcement.

The tide turned after another Marion County disaster. The 1968 Farmington explosion killed 78 miners. Americans watched in horror as the drama unfolded on national TV. 

State Officials and Friends Remember Ken Hechler

Dec 20, 2016
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, we hear some of the tributes given yesterday during a funeral service for statesman Ken Hechler and we’ll meet another inspiring West Virginian.

That’s on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Nearly 100 mourners gathered at a memorial service for Ken Hechler Monday at the Culture Center on the state Capitol complex. 

Hechler, a nine-term Congressman and West Virginia's Secretary of State, passed away Dec. 10 at 102.

Funeral Arrangements for Ken Hechler Announced

Dec 14, 2016
Mark Webb / AP Photo

Funeral services for former Congressman and Secretary of State Ken Hechler have been announced.

A funeral service will be held at 3:00 Monday afternoon at the Culture Center on the grounds of the State Capitol in Charleston.  Hechler will lie in repose there beginning at 10:00 that morning.  The service will be broadcast live on The West Virginia Channel.

Ken Hechler Called Himself an Educator

Dec 12, 2016
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, we remember Ken Hechler with a look back at his years in Congress.  It’s an excerpt from our documentary Ken Hechler: In Pursuit of Justice.

That’s on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Congressman Ken Hechler paid to bring hundreds of miners and the widows of the Farmington miners to protest at the nation’s capitol.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

Longtime West Virginia Congressman, Secretary of State, and World War II veteran, Ken Hechler has died at the age of 102. He was known nationwide for his work in improving coal mine health and safety, among many other accomplishments.

U.S. Government

Ken Hechler, longtime West Virginia Congressman, Secretary of State, WWII veteran and author of "The Bridge at Remagen," has died. He was 102.

Hechler served in Congress from 1959 to 1977 and became an advocate for coal mine health and safety, and environmental protection.

Rep. Ken Hechler, D-WV
e-WV / WV Humanitites Council

Congressman Ken Hechler was born in New York on September 20, 1914—and celebrated his 100th birthday two years ago.

During World War II, he served as a combat historian and earned the bronze star and five battle stars. Afterward, he taught at Princeton University and served on President Harry Truman’s staff.

Wikimedia Commons / US Government

Former West Virginia Secretary of State and U.S. Rep. Ken Hechler says his health is improving and he hopes that he will soon be released from the hospital.

Ken Hechler's wife, Carol Hechler, said the 101-year-old was rushed to the hospital on Wednesday because he was experiencing some internal bleeding and had a seizure. He was eventually transferred to another hospital in Maryland.

U.S. Government

Former Secretary of State and congressman Ken Hechler is 100 years old Saturday. 

Hechler was an Army combat historian during World War II and served in the Truman White House, writing speeches among other duties.

He served in the U.S. House between 1959 and 1976 and was secretary of state from 1985 to 2001.

According to the Associated Press, Hechler and his wife Carole will celebrate the milestone with a private event on Sunday in Romney. 

West Virginia Public Broadcasting filmmakers Chip Hitchcock and Russ Barbour produced a documentary on Hechler's life and work. The 2008 film, Ken Hechler: In Pursuit of Justice, is a two-part documentary examining the role of political office throughout 20th century America.

You can begin watching The Pursuit of Justice by streaming the embedded video below. To continue with the remaining parts, visit our YouTube playlist.

U.S. Government / Connormah / wikimedia Commons

Former West Virginia secretary of state and congressman Ken Hechler is reaching a milestone this weekend.

Hechler will be 100 years old on Saturday. He and his wife, Carol, will celebrate with friends and family at a private party in Romney on Sunday.