Apr 05 2005


WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala) today paid tribute to the life and service of former Alabama Senator Howell Heflin. During a speech on the Senate floor, Senator Shelby recalled the many contributions that Senator Heflin made to Alabama and the nation during his lifetime. The full text of Senator Shelby’s speech, as prepared, is below:

“Mr. SHELBY. Mr. President, I rise today with a heavy heart to pay tribute to the passing of my good friend, former Senator Howell Heflin. Judge Heflin, as we often called him, was a stalwart in the Senate, devoted to improving Alabama and the nation with each decision he made and every vote he cast.

When I first entered the Senate in 1987, Judge Heflin was the senior senator from Alabama. I considered him a good friend and colleague over the years. I always appreciated his humor and his solid values. I believe he will be remembered as one of Alabama's most respected politicians.

Judge Heflin was a strong voice for Alabama in the United States Senate. As Chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee and as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Judge Heflin worked to ensure that Alabama was indeed, well represented in Washington. He was deeply devoted to his job, and often spent dinners out that were meant to be time off, as an opportunity to help his constituents who happened to be at the same restaurant.

Howell Heflin was born on June 19, 1921 in Poulan, Georgia to Reverend Marvin Rutledge Heflin and Louise Strudwick Heflin. He graduated from Colbert County High School in Leighton, Alabama and Birmingham Southern College. Following his graduation from Birmingham Southern, Judge Heflin enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. His military service during World War II took him to the Pacific Theater, where he was wounded twice and awarded the Silver Star. He was also awarded two Purple Hearts.

Upon his return from World War II, he attended the University of Alabama School of Law and was admitted to the Alabama State Bar in 1948. From 1948 to 1971, Judge Heflin was an attorney in Tuscumbia, Alabama.

Elected as the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 1970, Judge Heflin was well known for his efforts to modernize Alabama's legal system. It was because of his profound work as Chief Justice, that he was affectionately referred to as Judge even after he became a United States Senator.

He was elected to the United States Senate in 1978 and served until the 104th Congress. Upon his retirement from the Senate, he left public life and returned home to Tuscumbia to enjoy time with his family.

Judge Heflin led a full life. Each chapter of his life - as a war hero, a jurist, and a public servant - was completed with great fervor and devotion. He did nothing halfway, and everyone who knew him recognized and appreciated that. He embodied the qualities of hard work, honesty, humility, and humor, and he left this earth with a great legacy.

Senator Heflin died on March 29, 2005. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Ann Heflin; son, Howell Thomas Heflin, Jr.; daughter-in-law Cornelia Hood Heflin; grandson, Wilson Carmichael Heflin; and granddaughter, Mary Catherine Heflin.

Senator Heflin was devoted to his family, his state and his country. As a World War II hero, he put his love of country above all else. He made remarkable contributions to Alabama and the nation, and his warm-hearted personality will be remembered by all who knew him. We will all miss him.

Mr. President, I yield the floor.”

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