Remembering Alabama Congressman Tom Bevill
WASHINGTON, March 30, 2005—Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Federal Co-Chair Anne B. Pope extended condolences today to the family of former Alabama congressman Tom Bevill, calling him "a true champion for the people of Appalachia."
Bevill, who passed away on March 28, served in Congress from 1967 to 1997. For 18 of those years, he was the chair of the Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development of the House Committee on Appropriations, which is responsible for overseeing federal funding for the Appalachian Regional Commission.
Throughout his tenure in Congress, Bevill placed a high priority on supporting the economic development of the Appalachian Region and was a staunch proponent of adequate funding for ARC.
James W. Curtis, executive director of the East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission, noted that Bevill's early years growing up in the Depression made him sensitive to the problems and needs of the Region. "His was an important voice speaking for those who could not speak for themselves," said Curtis. "He was a strong advocate for programs that could make a difference. The face of Appalachia has permanently changed for the better due to his tireless, selfless efforts."
Robert B. Culver, the president of the Development District Association of Appalachia from 2002 to 2004, recalled Bevill as "a man of integrity, a man of his word," who connected with the people of Appalachia. "He was the epitome of what a public servant and a public leader should be," said Culver. "He cared deeply about the people of Appalachia and vigorously defended ARC because he understood its impact on improving the lives of the citizens of the Region. He is irreplaceable, and he will be sorely missed."
Bevill was a graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law in Tuscaloosa. He served in Europe as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II, and before being elected to Congress in 1966 was active in the civic affairs of Jasper, the city of his residence. His legacy includes a long list of public service projects in Alabama, and his name is featured on buildings and sites throughout the state.