Former Governor Clyde Hoey Died at His U.S. Senate Desk, 1954

Gov. Clyde Hoey speaks at the opening of a tobacco market  in Rocky Mount in 1938. Image from the State Archives

On May 12, 1954, Clyde Hoey died in his office in the U.S. Capitol.

A native of Shelby, Hoey married Bess Gardner, sister of Governor O. Max Gardner, and is counted as part of the “Shelby Dynasty,” that dominated state government for two decades. Hoey served as governor from 1937 until 1941. Until his bid for governor, he concentrated on his law practice and worked as a lobbyist.

Former Governor Clyde Hoey Like his predecessors, the conservative Hoey gave priority to a balanced state budget and exhibited little enthusiasm for the New Deal, which by the late 1930s was no longer a major political force in North Carolina.

In 1944, Hoey defeated former Gov. Cameron Morrison in a race for the U.S. Senate. His election secured his place in history as only the second North Carolinian to serve as governor, in both houses of the state legislature and in both houses of Congress.

Today, Hoey is remembered for his oratory, courtly manner, long white hair and distinctive style of dress, which included swallow-tail coat, striped pants, wing collar, high-topped shoes and flower in his lapel.

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