Tommy Irvin, who was Georgia's longest serving statewide official, died on Thursday at age 88.
Details of Irvin's death have not been released.
"Our nation and state have greatly benefited from the tremendous leadership of Tommy Irvin," said his spokesperson, Brenda Griffin, who announced his passing. "He will be remembered for his ingenuity and dedication. His many awards are well earned and he leaves an unparalleled legacy."
Sandra & I are deeply saddened by the passing of Commissioner Tommy Irvin. (1/3)— Governor Nathan Deal (@GovernorDeal) September 15, 2017
His lifelong service & dedication to GA, particularly to advancing the causes of farmers, helped build a stronger, more prosperous GA. (2/3)— Governor Nathan Deal (@GovernorDeal) September 15, 2017
While we grieve w/ his family over the loss of Tommy, we're comforted knowing that he is in a better place & that his legacy lives on. (3/3)— Governor Nathan Deal (@GovernorDeal) September 15, 2017
Irvin began his more than 54 years of public service began in 1956, when he was elected to the Habersham County Board of Education. From there, he went on to serve as chairman of the school board and president of the Georgia School Boards Association.
Throughout his time in public office, he has remained dedicated to educational advancement in the State of Georgia, and as such, he is an honorary Lifetime Member of the Parent-Teacher Association of Georgia and the Georgia School Food Service Association.
Irvin served as a state representative from Habersham County in the Georgia General Assembly. He served on the House Agriculture, Education, & Appropriations committees and chairman of both the House Industrial Relations Committee and the Governor’s Conference on Education.
In addition, he was the governor’s floor leader and executive secretary to the governor.
Irvin was appointed commissioner of agriculture in 1969 by Gov. Lester Maddox, and served until January 2011. He holds a record as the longest serving commissioner of agriculture in the United States.