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 Robert Carlyle Byrd

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Robert Carlyle Byrd

US Senator. He was born Cornelius Calvin Sale, Jr. and after his mother died in the 1918 influenza epidemic he was raised by his aunt and uncle, who renamed him. In 1946 he won a seat in the West Virginia House of Delegates, serving until 1950, when he was elected to the State Senate, where he served until 1952. That year he was the successful Democratic nominee for a seat in the US House of Representatives and served three terms. Byrd was elected to the US Senate in 1958 and served from 1959 until his death. In 1963 he received a law degree from American University, and in 1994 he received a bachelor's degree from Marshall University. Byrd served in several Senate leadership roles, including Democratic Conference Secretary, Assistant Majority Leader (Whip), Majority Leader, Minority Leader, Appropriations Committee Chairman and President Pro Tempore. In 2006 he became the longest-serving senator ever, and in 2009 he became the longest-serving member of Congress ever. A member of the Ku Klux Klan early in his career (for which he later expressed regret), he became a civil rights advocate. He was well-known for using his influence to bring federal funding to West Virginia. Byrd was also an author, and his works include a comprehensive Senate history. He died at Inova Fairfax Hospital after several years of declining health and treatment for a variety of illnesses.

Bio by: Bill McKern


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bill McKern
  • Added: 28 Jun 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 54200704
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Robert Carlyle Byrd (20 Nov 1917–28 Jun 2010), Find A Grave Memorial no. 54200704, citing Columbia Gardens Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .