On March 12, 1971, Ivor Boiarsky, speaker of the West Virginia House of Delegates, died suddenly of a heart ailment. He was only 50.
Boiarsky was born in Charleston in 1920 and went on to become president of Charleston Federal Savings and Loan Association. First elected to the House of Delegates in 1958, he was a rising star in the Democratic Party, becoming chairman of the House Finance Committee and then House speaker.
Boiarsky coauthored the 1968 Modern Budget Amendment, which gave the governor greater input into the state’s annual budget. He was instrumental in creating a consolidated board for higher education, the Board of Regents, which lasted a quarter-century before reverting back to separate boards for the university system and colleges.
During his three years as speaker, he pushed the House of Delegates to 18- and 20-hour days, which weakened his health. His death occurred at 2:00 a.m. in the waning days of the legislative session, shortly after a contentious debate about strip mining. Ivor Boiarsky is remembered as one of the most effective speakers in the history of the House of Delegates.