The heart of Bob Mollohan’s approach to politics — and to life itself — could be summed up in four short words: Work hard. Help others. His incredible work ethic was evident early in life when as a nine-year-old he shined shoes in the local Calhoun County barbershop. He later sold newspapers, dug ditches, and as a teenager started his own cleaning business in the basement of the family home.
A passion for helping others led him to enter public service in his early 20’s, setting the course for a distinguished 60-year career as a West Virginia political and business leader.
Beginning in 1933 as a deputy collector of the U.S. Internal Revenue Bureau in Parkersburg, Bob’s strong affinity for hard work and his commitment to serving fellow West Virginians quickly led to positions of increased responsibility — a recurrent theme in his career.
He soon advanced to chief of the bureau’s Miscellaneous Tax Division and cashier. In 1939, he was appointed district manager of the Works Progress Administration, overseeing the program for 31 northern West Virginia counties. He served as state director of the 1940 census, and from 1941-48 was superintendent of the West Virginia Industrial School for Boys in Taylor County.
The next year brought him to Washington, where he served until 1952 as staff director of the District of Columbia Committee under U.S. Senator Matthew Nelly, with a term in 1950 as a U.S. Marshal. Bob was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1952 and served in the 83rd, 84th, and 91st through 97th Congresses. His constant hard work resulted in important contributions through assignments on the Armed Services and Administration committees.
He derived great satisfaction from serving his constituents. As their man in Washington, Bob relished every opportunity to help West Virginians in need…and that included working to bring educational opportunities to them. He saw education as the key to helping young people get good jobs, and enjoy good lives. And he recognized that education was crucial to the economic health of our state and its communities.
It is with this foremost in mind that the Robert H. Mollohan Family Charitable Foundation has been established: to carry on Bob’s legacy — working hard and helping others — through the support of educational opportunities that will bring success to our young people and, through them, to our entire state.