CHARLESTON, W.Va. --Delegate Larry Border, a Wood County Republican who served as House minority whip and was known for taking young legislators under his wing, died Wednesday after a massive stroke. He was 60.
Border suffered the stroke Tuesday night and had been hospitalized Wednesday at
St. Joseph's Hospital in Parkersburg, state Republican leaders said.
He lived in Davisville and was first elected to the House of Delegates in 1990. A pharmacist, Border was minority chairman of the House Health and Human Resources Committee and also served on the Agriculture, Finance and House Rules committees.
House Minority Leader Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, called Border's death "a devastating loss."
"As the Republican minority whip, he earned the nickname 'Den Mother' from our Republican members because he was always willing to offer his help and guidance to all our legislators, especially those who were newly elected," Armstead said in a statement. "I will deeply miss his wise advice, humor, integrity and personal friendship."
In a statement, House Democratic leaders also said they were shocked to learn of Border's death, and praised his work in the Legislature.
"We have lost an experienced statesman known for his intelligence, inquisitiveness and wit," said House Speaker Rick Thompson, D-Wayne.
Border wanted new legislators "to feel comfortable and to value this experience," said House Majority Leader Brent Boggs, D-Braxton.
Despite his busy schedule, Border made a point of taking college interns under his wing, and tried to help them feel at home and nurture their interest in public service, said House Majority Whip Mike Caputo, a Marion County Democrat.
State Republican Associate Chairwoman Melody Potter also noted Border's mentoring of young people, saying he was "like a parent" to new delegates.
"Delegate Border was almost like a father to a lot of the folks serving in the Legislature," she told the Gazette, "and the impact that he's had will live on."
During this year's legislative session, Border sponsored a measure that would have required a prescription for pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in methamphetamine. The bill passed the House, but was rejected in the state Senate.
House Health and Human Resources Chairman Don Perdue, a fellow pharmacist, said that his and Border's shared interests and good relationship easily overcame any of their partisan differences.
"I am absolutely devastated at the loss of my good friend and colleague," the Wayne County Democrat said in the House statement.
Border is survived by his wife, Anna, and children, Heather Border, Rebecca
Dimit and Christopher Border. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Reach Alison Knezevich at alis...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.