Del. James E. Proctor Jr., a Democrat who represented Prince George's and Charles counties in Annapolis for 25 years, has died, officials said Thursday.
Proctor, 79, was a retired school teacher and principal who joined the House of Delegates in 1990 when he was appointed to replace William R. McCaffrey, who retired. Proctor rose to the vice chairman's post in the House Appropriations Committee.
Information about the cause of death was not immediately available.
Gov. Larry Hogan ordered the state flags to be lowered to half-staff in Proctor's honor.
"He touched the lives of countless students during his many years as an educator in Prince George's County, and served our country as a member of the United States Air Force," Hogan said in a statement. "We owe Delegate Proctor a debt of gratitude for a lifetime of public service on behalf of the state of Maryland."
Proctor focused on improving education and advocated for Maryland's historically black colleges, said House Speaker Michael E. Busch, an Anne Arundel Democrat.
"Jim was a great mentor to many members of the House and always had an open door and a good story to tell. Jim was a long-time personal friend," Busch said in a statement.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., a Democrat who represents the same district as Proctor, said his colleague was a "true public servant," attending community meetings and addressing the needs of his constituents.
"Jim Proctor's impact on Southern Maryland and the entire state is impossible to measure, and his presence and friendship will be sorely missed," Miller said in a statement.
Proctor was born in Washington, D.C., in 1936, according to his official House of Delegates biography. After attending Dunbar High School in the District, he served in the Air Force and earned a bachelor's degree in education and a master's of education in administration at Bowie State College, now known as Bowie State University.
In the House of Delegates, Proctor served on several subcommittees and special committees, in addition to his work as vice chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee. He was a member of the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus, the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus, Maryland Rural Caucus and the Maryland Veterans Caucus.
In 2010, Proctor was honored with the House of Delegates' Sen. Charles "Mac" Mathias Award, given every four years to a member of the legislature who works well with both Republicans and Democrats.
Proctor is survived by his wife, Susie; two children, Edward and Stephanie; and three grandchildren.
Details of funeral arrangements have not been announced.