Editor's note: This article has been updated throughout.
Former Rep. Ralph Hall died of natural causes Thursday at his home overlooking Lake Ray Hubbard, a spokesman confirmed to the Dallas Morning News. He was 95.
Funeral services will be held on March 16 at 2 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Rockwall. Visitation will take place on March 15 at Rest Haven Funeral Home in Rockwall from 6-8 p.m.
Hall represented Texas’s Fourth District, which includes Grayson County, for 34 years after serving two decades in other public office positions. Hall left the House of Representatives in 2014 as dean of the Texas delegation and the oldest serving member in history. He had represented Texas’s Fourth District since 1981 as both a Democrat and Republican. In that time, he cast 19,459 roll call votes from the House floor, sponsored 151 and cosponsored 4,046 bills and resolutions, and seen at least a few proposals make it into law.
“What a privilege it has been to represent the good people of the Fourth Congressional District of Texas for the past 33 years,” Hall wrote in 2014 in an editorial published in the Herald Democrat. “I am deeply grateful for the honor and want to express my heart-felt appreciation to those in the Fourth District who gave me their vote of confidence time and again, who gave me the benefit of their wisdom and good ideas, and who inspired me to do my best to represent their views and their vision in Washington. You will always be dear to my heart.”
Among his final accomplishments in the House was a money saving proposal to stop delivering printed copies of House disbursement reports since the bulky documents are available electronically. The resolution was unanimously adopted after drawing some comments for such a modern idea to have come from the oldest member of the House.
“During my service, which spans five presidents and seven speakers of the house, I have been fortunate to serve on two great committees – the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Science, Space, and Technology Committee,” Hall wrote in his final editorial as a congressman. “The Science, Space, and Technology Committee has helped define the vision and establish the course for our space program, the International Space Station, and scientific research and development. The Energy and Commerce Committee has spurred energy development and innovation, telecommunications breakthroughs and health-care reforms, just to name a few.”
Hall also saw into law bills to improve drought forecasting, to resolve an evasive species question that could have blocked a major drinking water project for northern Texas, and to block federal funding for assisted suicide.
When Hall was first elected to public office in 1950, he served in an area so Democratic, the primary effectively determined the election. By the time he was voted out of office in 2014, the primary was still the vote that mattered, just on the Republican side.
Hall lost the Republican primary runoff in 2014 to current U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe.
“Throughout my more than 50 years of public service, in the state of Texas and in Washington, America has faced many challenges, and there are many still facing our nation today,” Hall wrote in late 2014. “At 91 years of age, I am looking forward – not back – and I am confident that my colleagues in Congress will continue to strive to achieve a vision that is worthy of this great nation, our people, and our children and grandchildren.”