Former Kanawha County Commissioner Hoppy Shores dies

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Former Kanawha County Commissioner Henry “Hoppy” Shores has died.

The Kanawha County Commission confirmed Shores’ death Friday night.

Kanawha County Commissioners Ben Salango, Hoppy Shores and Kent Carper

Shores was the longest serving commissioner in Kanawaha County, elected in 1966 and served for 42 years. He retired in Dec. 2020.

He was in his early 90s.

“To me, Hoppy was like a father, especially after I lost mine. He treated everyone with respect. Of all of his many accomplishments, his true legacy – as Hoppy would say, ‘it’s all about the kids.’ He lived it, he breathed it, and he did it. From time to time, Debbie and I had the privilege of having private time with Bronson and Hoppy. I shall always treasure our time together,” Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper said in a statement.

Shores was the the longest-serving commissioner in the county’s history.

Commissioner Ben Salango said in a statement Shores served with dignity and respect for others.

“Hoppy was one of the kindest individuals I’ve ever met. He loved his family and his community deeply. He devoted his life to public service, and his efforts will be felt for generations to come. Tera and I will miss him dearly, and we send our most heartfelt condolences to Bronson and his entire family,” Salango wrote.

Commissioner Lance Wheeler was elected to replace Shores following his retirement.

“When I was elected Commissioner, following Commissioner Shores, I knew these would be big shoes to fill. Commissioner Shores was a true icon in the political arena. He was a kind man who supported many programs in the County and always made an effort to support youth activities. I have worked to follow in his footsteps and have continued by serving on the Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission and working to fulfill his goals. My wife Jessica and I send our condolences to his entire family,” Wheeler stated.

In addition to his commission duties, Shores also served on the Yeager Airport Board in Charleston. When the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) committee planned to reassign the 130th Airlift Wing of the West Virginia Air National Guard at Yeager Airport, Shores worked with Adjutant General Allen Tackett to save the base and Yeager Airport.

The Coonskin Park road opened in 2015.

Before leaving the commission, the commission courtroom was renamed the ‘Henry C. “Hoppy” Shores Courtroom.’ The Shawnee Sports Complex also proudly has “Hoppy’s Mile,” a one-mile walking path named in honor of Shores.

The entrance to Coonskin Park was also changed to Henry C. “Hoppy” Shores Drive. Coonskin Park also has “Hoppy’s Little Express,” a train used to carry children through the park to view the light displays during the holiday season.

Shores served on the commission from 1966 until 1972. He again served from 1978 to 1984. In 1986, he was elected to the state House of Delegates and served until 1990, at which time he again ran for the position of Kanawha County Commissioner and was elected in 1991 and served until he retired.

Shores was born in Dunbar and later moved to Charleston’s West Side. He graduated from Stonewall Jackson High School and West Virginia University. He then enlisted in the U.S. Army.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced yet.

In honor of Shores, a black drape will be placed over the top of his picture in the Henry C. “Hoppy” Shores courtroom and over the door to the entrance of the courtroom. A black drape will also be placed over the outside entrance of the courthouse.

State flags will be lowered at all county-owned facilities until the day of the services.