Former Attorney General Hardy Myers, 77, died Nov. 29 of complications of pneumonia. He had also been fighting a two-year battle against lung cancer. There will be a funeral Mass at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7, at All Saints Church in Northeast Portland.
Mr. Myers was born Oct. 25, 1939, in Electric Mills, Mississippi, and raised in central Oregon. He graduated from Crook County High School in Prineville, earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Mississippi and a law degree at the University of Oregon in 1964.
Mr. Myers began his career in state politics in 1974 when he won a seat in the Oregon House as a Portland representative. He was House speaker for two of his five legislative terms. After the House, he worked as a lawyer for the Stoel Rives law firm in Portland.
Mr. Myers ran for attorney general in 1996 after Ted Kulongoski announced he would not run for a second term as attorney general. He served 12 years as attorney general before retiring in 2009 — meaning he spent three decades in public service.
He focused on improving the state’s laws against domestic and sexual violence. He also negotiated Oregon’s historic settlement with big tobacco which still brings the state millions of dollars annually. Myers worked to improve consumer laws, including multistate settlements with drug companies. After the shooting at Thurston High School in 1998, he became a national leader for school safety measures.
“Oregon lost a true statesman today,” Gov. Kate Brown wrote in a press release. “Hardy Myers dedicated most of his adult life to serving the people of Oregon as a legislator and attorney general.”
In a prepared statement, Senate President Peter Courtney said, "He taught me to respect the institution. He taught me to respect the process. He taught me to respect other people and other viewpoints. He was a wonderful gentleman." Courtney called Myers' death a giant loss.
Mr. Myers is survived by his wife of 54 years, Mary Ann Myers; three sons, Hardy III, Christopher and Jonathan; and 10 grandchildren.