The longest-serving Republican Congressman Bill Young passed away on Friday at the age of 82, according to a spokesman.
Young entered the House of Representatives as a freshman Florida congressman in 1970, and he died only two weeks after announcing that he would not seek reelection in the upcoming 2014 race. Young has been hospitalized over the past two weeks recovering from a back injury.
Serving for over forty years, Young was chairman of the Appropriations Committee for almost six years. Later he served on the sub-panel of that committee on military spending.
The last few years of Young’s service were more challenging for him, as his age began to affect his mobility. He spent most of his time in a wheelchair, but when he did venture forth using a walker, a large number of staff members were at his side to assist. Despite these restraints Young participated in the majority of House Republican Conference meetings, and was always present for voting. His mind was still sharp as a tack, often joking with reporters and House staffers.
House Speaker John Boehner commented on the loss of Young:
“It’s only been a week since we began trying to imagine the House without Bill Young – an impossible task in its own right – and now he is gone. In our sorrow, we recall how not a day went by without a colleague seeking Bill’s counsel as he sat on his perch in the corner of the House floor. There was a good reason for this. Here was a man who had seen it all and accomplished much. Looking out for our men and women in uniform was his life’s work, and no one was better at it. No one was kinder too.”