Bob Harrell Sr., a longtime state Transportation Commissioner and the father of House Speaker Bobby Harrell, died Friday morning.

He was 75.

Harrell, who also owned an insurance agency and a pecan farm in Meggett, was a strong voice of the Lowcountry on the powerful Transportation Commission, which is responsible for decisions on which road construction and maintenance projects to fund.

During his tenure, Harrell played a significant role in construction of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. bridge and in winning approval to widen Highway 17 between Jacksonboro in Colleton County and Gardens Corner in Beaufort County.

For most of his career, Harrell refused to take the per diem offered to commissioners. He once said "I just appreciated the opportunity to serve, as corny as that might sound."

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