Former Senator Jesse Helms Is Dead At 86

Funeral services are now set for former North Carolina U.S. Senator Jesse Helms.

A viewing for Helms will be held from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, July 7, at Hayes-Barton Baptist Church, 1800 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh.

A funeral will be held at the church on Tuesday, July 8, at 2 p.m. A private burial for family will follow.

The Jesse Helms center said the former senator died at 1:15 a.m. on the Fourth of July.

Jimmy Broughton, Helms' former chief of staff, says the former senator died of natural causes in Raleigh.

Helms built a career along the fault lines of racial politics and battled liberals, Communists and the occasional fellow Republican during his decades in Congress. He was slowed in later age by a variety of illnesses, including a bone disorder, prostate cancer and heart problems.

Click here to share your memories of Helms on our blog.

Helms served in the Senate from 1972 through 2002, and before that did commentaries for a Raleigh television station.

Helms sat down for an interview with WITN-TV in 1987, to talk about the issues facing our country. That interview was conducted by then WITN anchor David Crabtree, who is now an anchor at WRAL. Click on the Helms Interview video above to watch.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole today made the following statement regarding the passing of U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms:

“Bob and I are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our longtime friend Senator Jesse Helms. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to his precious wife Dot and their family.

“In succeeding Jesse to represent North Carolina in the United States Senate, I knew I could never replace him, but I continue to strive each day to provide the dedicated constituent service he provided the people of our state for 30 years. As my father would say, Jesse was indeed a ‘watchdog’ for North Carolina and for the nation.”

U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) issued the following statement today about the passing of his friend and colleague, former Senator Jesse Helms:

"Brooke and I are extremely saddened to hear the news of the passing of Jesse Helms. Jesse was a mentor and good friend and his contributions to North Carolina and to the nation were countless. We will miss him tremendously. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dot and the entire Helms family."

The following statement was issued today by Gov. Mike Easley on the passing of former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms:

“Whether you liked his politics or not, he was a national force able to deliver for his constituents. We last appeared together when the Navy named a submarine after North Carolina at his request. He certainly didn’t shy from controversy and you always knew what his positions were. Whether we were working together to stop international drug trafficking or opposing each other on the campaign trail, he was always a gentleman to me.”

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  • by Brainless in NC Location: Greenville on Jul 18, 2008 at 12:59 AM
    I think people should just be honest. Helms was a man that said what he felt. We all should be allowed to express our feelings that same way he did. Just because someone dies it does not mean the truth should die. The man is dead. We should learn from his mistakes and not sugar coat his life. The Jesse Helms many of you are remembering is not the man that I remember.
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co. Location: Washington on Jul 14, 2008 at 12:43 PM
    Tina, you are right about earning respect, it must be earned. Most do not like Obama because of this. His church dealings, he real estate deals, his comments on the troops, no flag pin and his wife's comments. These will not earn respect but drive people away from him. While I think he is decent in some ways, I just do not think he is ready and he is too liberal left for most democrats. I think comments on Jesse who is now deceased are just wrong. He was stubborn but he did a lot of good too. May he rest in peace should have some meaning to people but they blog ugly statements here.
  • by Tina Sweller Location: Windsor on Jul 7, 2008 at 03:24 AM
    People get respect when they earn respect. People should feel free to express their feelings regardless. I've visit this site several times and see where people post a lot of derrogator comments about OBAMA. My thing is you learn as you earn. No disrespect to no one dead or alive.

    Editor's Note: We're much more lenient in allowing comments about public figures who are alive. That said, we do find it necessary to edit many posts about Obama, Bush and McCain.

  • by Obama 08 4 Prez! on Jul 6, 2008 at 08:34 PM
    K i hear what your saying but all I know is I've written several comments in my defense that haven't made it to this blog, while people attack me, and their comments made it. I have been called an idiot, yet my response wasn't posted. Matt is threatening me, and my other post wasn't put on this page. My comment was removed, so why aren't the comments made to me removed? Why have I lost my freedom of speech, while still be attacked and not being able to defend myself. It seems to me everyone can throw a blow but me? So I'll try it Cindy's way......Editor, please remove all the comments concerning me since I can't comment back in respect for me and my family. Thank You
  • by k Location: g on Jul 6, 2008 at 10:57 AM
    regardless of how i felt about Helms, i think these comments are getting a little racist and out of hand. those are the ones who should be removed. DO have respect for the dead and his family, but those defending Helms dont have to be rabid and make personal attacks about it; in this great country we are allowed to have opinions, so please also respect that.
  • by Matt Location: NC on Jul 6, 2008 at 07:19 AM
    Boy, you learn slow.
  • by Obama 08 4 Prez! on Jul 5, 2008 at 10:19 PM
    Matt why should I be careful what I write on this blog?
  • by cindy Location: Eastern NC on Jul 5, 2008 at 03:49 PM
    Editor, please remove "obama4pres" comments in respect for the Helms family. Thank you

    Editor's Note: We have removed the post from this story but we are leaving an edited version of it up on the blog titled "Share Your Memories Of Jesse Helms".

  • by Obama 08 4 Prez! on Jul 5, 2008 at 02:35 PM
    WITN why don't you make a blog where people can say what they want to about helms, sense you seem to be saving this as (his) memorial.

    Editor's Note: There is a blog where memories, both good and bad, are being shared. Usual rules apply.

  • by Matt Location: NC on Jul 5, 2008 at 01:28 PM
    Hey (Obama), be careful what you post on message boards like this.

    Slight Edit

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