A "beloved public servant" who served the Hudson Valley for over 40 years passed away.

New York state Sen. William Larkin passed away at the age of 91 on Saturday.

"I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Senator Larkin -- a decorated war hero who dedicated over 70 years of his life to public service, including over 40 years in the State Legislature. He was a constant force for good, including when he guarded Martin Luther King, Jr. during his storied march from Selma to Montgomery. Senator Larkin led by example every day of his life and was an inspiration to me and countless others who wanted nothing more than to serve the people of this great state and nation," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

Larkin, who's described by the Orange County Government as "a beloved public servant," spent 39 years in the New York State Legislature, serving in the Assembly from 1979-90. Larkin was first elected to the New York State Senate in November of 1990. He retired in December 2018.

“America lost a hero, New York lost a statesman, the Hudson Valley lost a son and advocate and so many lost a mentor, peer and friend. He lived a storied and purely American life - courageous and kind, conscientious and decent, full and honorable. It was my honor to have learned from and served with him. But greatest was the honor we all had in knowing Bill Larkin sacrificed for and served all of us," Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said.

Senator Larkin, a U.S. Army veteran who fought in World War II and the Korean War, retired from the United States Army in 1967 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He served in many key positions, both in the United States and overseas, and saw combat in World War II while serving in the Philippines operation, and again in the Korean War. During his military service, Senator Larkin was the recipient of the Legion of Merit and seven Army Commendation Medals and was also awarded one Battle Star for the Philippines and six Battle Stars for the Korean War.

“Senator Larkin will be remembered for his lifelong dedication to public service,” Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus said. “He proudly served his country in the military and went on to just as proudly serve his community in the State Assembly and as Senator. He was a dedicated advocate for his constituents, especially veterans, military personnel and their families. Senator Larkin was tough, but also fair-minded and compassionate. His long and well-respected career was highlighted by, among other things, his class and grace. I’m deeply saddened by his passing and my thoughts and prayers are with his family."

Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center in the William and Pat Larkin Education Center. Larkin will be buried on Thursday.

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