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Remembering notable people in Hampton Roads who passed away in 2022

The list includes public servants, politicians, civic leaders and military heroes.

NORFOLK, Va. — Hampton Roads lost public servants, civic leaders and military heroes in 2022.

Virginia Fourth District Congressman Don McEachin, who died in November at age 61, said his proudest achievement was serving people.

Fellow lawmakers said McEachin will be truly missed.

"Donald was just such a decent human being. He was a very kind person," said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia).

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia) said: "Virginia lost a great leader. A whole lot of us, including me, lost a great friend."

When McEachin died, Gov. Glenn Youngkin ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at all state and local buildings and grounds. Youngkin set a special election to succeed McEachin for February 21.

In June, Virginia Beach City Councilman and former Mayor Louis Jones died at age 86. Colleagues remembered him fondly.

"He was a statesman," said Virginia Beach City Councilmember Barbara Henley.

"It's a big loss for this council, it's a big loss for this city," said Virginia Beach City Councilmember Linwood Branch.

Former Newport News Mayor Joe Frank died in October at age 79. Frank served as mayor for 14 years, and he was the city's first directly elected mayor and its longest serving.

Norfolk's first Black police chief, Melvin High, died in November at age 78. During his tenure, High led the introduction of community policing.

Documented Original Tuskegee Airman Ezra Hill, Sr., of Newport News, died in May. The retired U.S. Air Force master sergeant was 92.

And, there was the story of Portsmouth native Octavius Mabine, who died at age 21 during the attack on Pearl Harbor 81 years ago. But, he wasn't laid to rest until this year.

Modern DNA technology led to his remains being positively identified in October. He was then interred alongside more than 400,000 of America's greatest military heroes at Arlington National Cemetery.   

Nephew Bruce Mabine is Octavius's closest living descendant. 

"For me and my son, it's extremely extraordinary," he told 13 News Now in an interview. "So, it's a great way to always keep his memory alive."

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