House Resolution 4

[By Mr. Speaker, Mr. Kiss and Delegate Caputo and all Members of the House]

"Enrolling a Memorial to the Honorable A. James Manchin, Former Member of the House of Delegates, Esteemed Public Servant and Cherished Friend from the County of Marion."

WHEREAS, The members of the House of Delegates profoundly deplore the death on November 3, 2003, of the Honorable A. James Manchin, and desire to pay a tribute to the memory of this extraordinary individual, former member, public servant and friend.

A. James Manchin was born in humble quarters in Farmington, Marion County, on April 7, 1927, the son of the late Kathleen "Mama Kay" and Joseph "Papa Joe" Manchin. He received his preparatory education in the public schools of Marion County, and he attended West Virginia University, Fairmont State College and Villanova, where he earned Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in political science, sociology and education.

He was married to Stella Machel and they had had three children: Patricia Lee, Mark Anthony and Rosanna, all of whom survive.

He entered the world of politics at an early age, and was elected to the House of Delegates in 1948, when he was but twenty-one years old. He ran for reelection to the House in 1950, but his defeat in that election did not curtail his desire to be in public service. He spent most of the 1950's as a wrestling coach and teacher at Rupert, Hundred and Webster Springs High Schools and at Jackson Junior High School in Vienna.
In 1961, A. James Manchin received an appointment by President John F. Kennedy to serve as State Director of the Farmers Home Administration and he served at the federal level as Special Assistant to the National Administrator of the Farmers Home Administration, holding those positions until 1972.

A flamboyant character of the first magnitude, A. James held close friendship with former Governor Arch A. Moore, who, in 1973, appointed him to direct the Environmental Action Program, a successful effort to rid the State of junked cars and appliances. Thus began his romance with junked cars that earned him national recognition and acclaim, simply by the effort and energy he put into it, and the total number of junked cars removed from the landscape of West Virginia during his tenure was over 100,000.

In 1976, A. James Manchin embarked upon yet another political adventure by running for and being elected as the Secretary of State of West Virginia. Although publicly viewed as largely a ceremonial office, he took the Great Seal of the State, with which he was entrusted by the Constitution, and made it into a symbol of the people and for the people, by bestowing countless thousands of medallions which he commissioned bearing the Great Seal upon those whom he wanted to honor. He remained as Secretary of State for nearly ten years, and in 1984 he sought and won election as Treasurer. In that office, he created the Teddi Program, which established 28,000 new jobs in the State. The darkest hours of his political career took root during his tenure as Treasurer, and in 1989 he resigned from public office.

Although no longer in great public view, A. James continued to work with and for those whom he loved, particularly the veterans and senior citizens. He held memberships in L. O. O. M., Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, Keep America Beautiful, Go-Cats, Inc., was a 4th Degree Member of the Knights of Columbus and served in the Silver Haired Legislature for four years. He was a Roman Catholic and particularly loved his home parish Church of St. Peter the Apostle in Farmington, from which he was buried, and where, on occasion he used his oratorical gift as a Lector at Mass.

A. James Manchin reentered public life and service as a member of the House of Delegates, having been elected in 1998 and serving as a member until his death. He served as Chairman of the Committee on Enrolled Bills, a largely ceremonial and ministerial position, and gave the signing of bills a certain character it never possessed nor ever again will possess. As a member of the House, he was adamant about the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance during the opening of the daily session , and he insisted that the phrase "one nation under God" be said in one breath and always without hesitation.

A. James Manchin found a particular attachment to the staff of the Clerk of the House, and he made the Clerk's Office his "unofficial" office while in this part of the building. Whether calling a bureaucrat on behalf of some misguided soul in his district, or trying to boost the morale of the young troops serving our country, A. James, when telephoning some public official and being asked to identify himself, often would simply say "I am but a voice crying out in the wilderness", which would totally befuddle the person receiving the call. His requests were generally heeded.

Ceremony was a great part of his life, and no event in which he participated escaped his particular twist, even to the point of seeking recognition on the floor of the House and replying to the Speaker's inquiry that he "sought permission to approach the high throne of authority." His manner could disperse tenseness and turn the texture of the moment into one of gentle laughter, but his seriousness was evident when he spoke of things dear to him, and persons dear to him often received a moniker only he could effectively employ, such as "Little Buddy", "HashiBaba" or "Mamalini."
A. James Manchin was a rare political figure who had the true unique ability to transcend politics in order to promote what he believed was in the best interests of the citizens of this State, and leaves to all of us a legacy of statesmanhood and greatness of character that we should all seek to emulate, especially during those inevitable recurring conflicts which can sometimes inflame our passions, tempting us to obfuscate rather than to seek solutions to the problems we face; therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Delegates:

That, while we formally mark the passing of a great leader of our State, a colleague, mentor and gentle friend, we also collectively celebrate in having been provided the example by this colorful, able and compassionate statesman, public servant and friend; and, be it

Further Resolved, That the members of the House of Delegates of this Seventy-Sixth Legislature of the State of West Virginia, in its Regular Session, 2004, hereby solemnly enroll this memorial to an extraordinary individual and public servant, A. James Manchin, hereby express the esteem in which he was held, and decry his passing; and, be it

Further Resolved, That the Clerk of the House prepare certified copies of this resolution for Mrs. Stella Manchin, his wife, and for Patricia Lee, Mark Anthony and Rosanna, his children.