Former Mayor Joe Riley remembers Fritz Hollings

Local News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – As we continue to honor and remember U.S. Sen. Ernest Fritz Hollings, we spoke with someone who not only worked with the longtime Senator – but was a close friend – former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley.

Riley called Fritz a great leader and a great friend.

“We go way back. My parents were friends of the Hollings’ and so I really got to know him as a young teenager—admired him greatly then and that admiration only increased over the years,” he said.

Joe Riley and Fritz Hollings followed a similar path in life; public servants. Riley said Fritz was one of the best at his job.

“Fighting the good fight wasn’t enough for Fritz Hollings,” he said. “It was getting it done. It was winning. That was his spirit. He never quit, he never gave up and if he had a goal he was going to work until it got accomplished for our community, for our state and for our country.”

Although not at the same time, both Joe Riley and Fritz Hollings attended The Citadel and that’s where Riley says Hollings learned to be a leader.

“That training stood him in good stead,” he said. “I always felt that he had that in him, the way he led. And his tremendous energy, he would just keep going.”

Life took Fritz to Europe during World War II. He came back to South Carolina, was our governor and fought to integrate our schools.

Then he was U.S. Senator in Washington for almost four decades where he fought hunger and poverty in his home state and helped get us through the devastation brought by Hurricane Hugo.

“What Fritz Hollings achieved during his time of public service, as governor and as a senator, I believe is unequaled,” said Riley.

A life well lived by Ernest Fritz Hollings and one his friend will never forget.

“I sure miss him. It’s not fair after 97 years to expect someone to continue. He led a remarkable life and will go down in history for his greatness and achievement,” he said. “He now rests and we’ll honor his memory for all the years to come.”

A funeral for Fritz Hollings will take place Tuesday at The Citadel.

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