|Birth: ||Sep. 5, 1919|
|Death: ||Oct. 16, 2002|
HOWELL APPLING JR., FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR OREGON, DIES: October 18, 2002
Howell Appling Jr., a businessman who served as Oregon secretary of state in the 1960s, died Wednesday. He was 83.
"He was a businessman who had great political sensibilities," said former Sen. Mark Hatfield who appointed him to the job in 1959. "He was a skilled administrator."
Mr. Appling's appointment as secretary of state was a moment of high political drama, and it played a role in the uneasy relationship between Hatfield and fellow Republican Tom McCall.
After Hatfield was elected governor in 1958, he believed he had the right to name his successor as secretary of state. His defeated opponent, Democratic Gov. Robert Holmes, thought otherwise and said he planned to appoint a 71-year-old retired elections director.
But Hatfield named Mr. Appling to the job from the podium moments after his inauguration. He filled in the name on a form, and a National Guardsman handed Mr. Appling the keys to the office.
Democrats sued, but the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that Hatfield had the authority to name his successor.
It had been widely assumed that Hatfield would name McCall, a television commentator at the time, to the job. McCall, in his autobiography, said a Hatfield aide had strongly hinted he would be appointed. And Brent Walth, now a reporter at The Oregonian, in McCall's biography, said McCall was deeply hurt.
Hatfield downplays any strain between himself and McCall sparked by the appointment.
"McCall could run and get elected to anything he wanted to," Hatfield said.
Hatfield said Mr. Appling was a "new face" and had done a good job as the Multnomah County chairman of his election campaign.
Mr. Appling was elected to the post in 1960, but declined to run for re-election in 1964. He served as chairman of the Oregon presidential campaigns of Barry Goldwater in 1964, and Richard Nixon in 1968, but never offered himself as a candidate again.
"He did not like party politics," Hatfield said.
Although he didn't get the job in 1959, McCall was elected secretary of state in 1964. In his autobiography, he admired Mr. Appling's ability to run a tight ship. He initiated the practice of assessing fees on other state agencies that used his services, thereby keeping his own budget low.
"Howell Appling has enjoyed considerable success cultivating an image as a ruthless watchdog of the public treasury," McCall wrote.
Mr. Appling maintained an active interest in politics. He was a frequent contributor to The Oregonian's letters page in recent years.
He was born Sept. 5, 1919, in Carthage, Texas. He received an engineering degree from Rice University and served in the United States Navy in World War II. He started Independent Distributors, a Portland wholesale logging and farm equipment firm in 1946.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Oct, 22, at Finley-Sunset Hills.
He is survived by daughters, Janet Robinson and Beth Appling; son, Michael; four grandchildren; and one great grandchild. Remembrances to St. Vincent Hospice.
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