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Longtime office holder Ken Hechler to turn 100

Charleston Daily Mail courtesy photo  Ken Hechler speaks on the campaign trail in 1984 while running for West Virginia Secretary of State. Hechler, whose life has included marching with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and interrogating Nazis in Nuremberg, turns 100 Saturday.
Charleston Daily Mail courtesy photo
Ken Hechler speaks on the campaign trail in 1984 while running for West Virginia Secretary of State. Hechler, whose life has included marching with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and interrogating Nazis in Nuremberg, turns 100 Saturday.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Ken Hechler may be 99 years, 364 days old, but there’s no slowing down the oldest living former member of Congress.

The lifelong politician and avid advocate for the environment and coal mine safety turns 100 Saturday. Hechler devoted his life to public service, and even today considers himself a public servant for West Virginia.

“It’s just always been my ambition,” Hechler said. “The Lord has been good to me and given me good health, a wonderful life and lots of good friends.”

Hechler, his wife of one year, Carol, and family and friends will celebrate his 100th birthday at a private party in Romney Sunday. A bigger celebration will take place at 1 p.m. Sept. 27 in the Don Morris Room of Marshall University’s Memorial Student Center.

Kenneth William “Ken” Hechler was born in the Long Island town of Roslyn, New York, on Sept. 20, 1914, to Charles H. and Catherine Hauhart Hechler. Ken was the youngest of three sons.

Ken took an interest in journalism at Roslyn High School; he contributed sports stories to his local newspaper until he graduated in 1931…

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