Ex-Sen. Ray Albright dead at 83

Ray Albright

Former Republican state Sen. Ray Albright, who spent 26 years as a state legislator working to improve Tennessee's environment and its education system, died Monday at age 83.

Albright announced in November he had mesothelioma, a lung cancer caused by asbestos. He said he was exposed to the deadly mineral in the 1950s and '60s when working to support his family at Combustion Engineering. Later he joined Union Planters Bank and rose to vice president before he retired.

He ran for and won a seat in the Tennessee House in 1968 on a promise to battle pollution and bring clean air back to a city dubbed in 1969 as having the dirtiest air in the nation.

Elected to the Senate in 1970, he was proud of sponsoring the bill that made Chattanooga State a technical community college.