But Not Forgotten
don't make 'em like Hardaway Marks anymore.
of the old lions of Virginia
politics was laid to a gentle rest here the other
day by the folks who knew and loved him best.
Hardaway Marks, who served in the Virginia House of
Delegates from 1962 through 1991 was 83 years old,
but still young at heart when he died.
He was chairman of the House Courts Committee
for years and years—and ruled it like he lived his
life, with a twinkle in his eye and scared o’
is not much that intimidates you after you’ve been
awarded a Purple Heart in World War II for action at
a little place called Iwo
from around the state, contemplating Hardaway,
remembered a gentleman, the likes of whom we’re
not likely to see again.
delegate Jay Deboer, of Petersburg:
“Let me elaborate on the “Gawwwn”
had a bill on the floor that repealed a mandatory jail
sentence for driving on a revoked or suspended
operator’s permit. That
law had been on the books forever, was familiar to
all who practiced traffic law, and was a
‘bear’—a tough penalty.
of being perceived as softening penalties, many
House members questioned Hardaway on the bill.
His explanation went something like this.
“You can’t try them if they’re not
is a book in Hardaway, as there is in so many of the
giants of the legislature of my youth.”
of Roanoke: “‘Gawwwn’
became—as did so many of Hardaway’s
sayings—part of the lore of the House.
Marks was an original.
He was extremely well read and smart,
although he had a veneer of ‘ol’ Southside craft
lawyer’ about him. That
would lead some to underestimate him—to their
would not have made two of him.”
Schapiro, Richmond Times Dispatch:
“One of my favorite stories involves two
female reporters who sat opposite Marks when the
press was stationed in the well of the House.
So offended were they by the constant plume
of smoke from the delegate’s Churchillian stogie
that one day they planted themselves at the press
table and fired up their own cigars.
Knowing ladies should always go first, Marks
waited a couple of minutes before joining them in a
Moss, of Norfolk: “Well,
I couldn’t tell you most of the best stories about
they were all classic.
One day he had two back-to-back bills on the
calendar—totally unrelated bills, with nothing
remotely in common with each other.
When it comes time to stand up and explain
them to the members of the House, Hardaway stands up
and gets the bills reversed.
He gets the explanations switched.
No one asks a question on either of them.
Both bills pass unanimously.
Only Hardaway could pull that off.”
governor Gerald Baliles:
“There was one bill he had that generated
some controversy and it looked like it was going to
be challenged on constitutional grounds.
And a TV reported jumped Hardaway about it.
‘Well, what about the constitution?
Well, what about the constitution?’
stood there a few minutes and let this guy go on and
on and them he smiled and said, “Well, what’s
the constitution among friends?”
course he was pulling his leg, but it went right
over the reporter’s head.
But that was Hardaway.”
director of UVA’s Sorensen Institute for Political
Leadership, reading from the 1987 Almanac of
Virginia politics: “Frequently
seen with his cigar, Marks portrays a good old small
town boy image, yet he has championed a commission
on Indians and often quotes Shakespeare.”
remember in this business—they remember the giants
for a long time. Ask
members of Chickahominy tribe.
One of their chiefs was one of the
pallbearers who carried Hardaway Marks to his grave
November 29, 2004