(WJHL) — Former Virginia House of Delegates member Joe Johnson has died.

Johnson represented Bristol and parts of Washington and Smyth counties for nearly three decades. He retired from politics in 2014.

Several Virginia lawmakers praised him for his contributions to Southwest Virginia through projects such as the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon.

“Our friend and colleague, Joe Johnson, has passed. Joe, a true gentleman, was one of Southwest Virginia’s most dedicated public servants. A strong advocate for his community, Joe was one of the kindest, nicest men I’ve ever met. I have no doubt that he has been reunited with his loving wife Ann, who left us just last month. I ask that all Virginians join me in prayer for his family at this difficult time.”

House Speaker Todd Gilbert

Johnson graduated from Emory & Henry College in 1957 and earned his law degree from the University of Richmond.

“The Emory & Henry family mourns the loss of former Delegate Joe Johnson, whose lifetime of service to this region, the Commonwealth, and to his alma mater has inspired many. Delegate Johnson worked tirelessly, logging thousands of miles representing us in Richmond for years, and in his trademark way, shaking hands all along the way. Our hearts are heavy at this time, but our thoughts of the many ways in which Joe contributed to the betterment of Southwest Virginia and Emory & Henry shall be long remembered.”

Dr. John W. Wells, Emory & Henry’s president

He was 90 years old.