RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Governor Ralph Northam has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of Virginia’s former Lieutenant Governor John Hager following his recent passing at the age of 83.
“John Hager devoted his life to public service, and I admired his love for our country and for Virginia. He served in the Army and worked as a businessman, but he will be remembered as a volunteer, an athlete, an author, and a patriot,” said Northam in a statement released Sunday evening.
While information on his death has not been made public yet, Northam’s order has the Commonwealth of Virginia flags lowered until sunset on September 2.
Hager, a North Carolina native, served as the Lt. Governor of Virginia from 1998 to 2002, and as the chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia from 2007 until 2008. He also spent time in office as a Director of Virginia’s Homeland Security and as an Assistant Secretary of the Department of Education.
“I first met John after running for public office, and he helped me learn the job of being Lieutenant Governor. Anyone who worked in Virginia politics quickly learned that John was everywhere, and no one outworked him. He earned victory and knew defeat, and he kept going. John held fast to his principles, and he knew when to reach across the aisle to compromise. Our country misses his example,” Northam continued.
“Most of all, John was a family man. Pam and I send our thoughts and prayers to Maggie, Jack, Henry, and the entire Hager family. I have ordered Virginia state flags to be flown at half-staff for ten days in John’s honor.”
Several local political officials released statements regarding Hager’s passing on Sunday evening as well.
U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) also released a statement on the passing of Hager.
“I’ve known John Hager for more than 30 years and I can attest that John epitomized the very definition of a true public servant. We worked together on the Virginia Health Care Foundation to ensure all Virginians had access to health care” said Warner.
“And during my time as Governor, I was proud of the work he did on my Cabinet, serving as the Director of Homeland Security. John was a great Virginian, who, despite the remarkable obstacles he faced in his personal life, was able to persevere and give back to his community. John was a great friend to me and the Commonwealth he served,” he continued.
“I want to offer my sincerest condolences to Maggie, the boys, and the entire Hager family on their loss. I will miss him greatly.”
Virginia’s current Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax commented on Hager’s continuous dedication and his “tremendous warmth, optimism and generosity of time and spirit.”
“As Lieutenant Governor, I have treasured John’s impeccable advice and the eloquence of his example in leadership and in life. He turned life’s obstacles into opportunities and its tragedies into triumphs — always focusing on the future and inspiring all those he met along the way,” Fairfax continued.
“John Hager is a true Virginia original. And, we will miss him. Our prayers and condolences go out to the Hager Family who will always be a special part of the Commonwealth’s Family.”
Virginia Senator Bill DeSteph released a statement mourning the Commonwealth’s loss in which he said, “He would always make it a point to say hello to everyone and offer a kind word or funny story. As Lieutenant Governor, he would ensure that people clearly understood the significance of the laws we passed and the impact on the lives of our citizens.”
“Albert Einstein once said, ‘A life lived for others, is a life well-lived.’ My good friend John Hager was indeed devoted to public service; from his military service in the United States Army, where he rose to the rank of Captain, to his service as a Chairman for the Republican Party. The Governor has ordered the flag of the Commonwealth of Virginia to be flown at half-staff for ten days in honor and memory of Former Lieutenant Governor John Henry Hager,” DeSteph continued.