James J. Eagan
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|James J. Eagan|
|Mayor of Florissant, Missouri|
April 1963 – November 2, 2000
|Succeeded by||Robert G. Lowery|
March 4, 1926|
St. Louis, Missouri
|Died||November 2, 2000
St. Louis, Missouri
James J. "Jim" Eagan (March 4, 1926 – November 2, 2000) was the longtime Mayor of Florissant, Missouri in St. Louis County.
Eagan was a politician in St. Louis before becoming Mayor of Florissant. He also served during World War II in the US Navy at both Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
James Eagan was Mayor from 1963 until his death in 2000.
He was re-elected an unprecedented 9 times
Eagan was a charismatic figure and was well known throughout the St. Louis Area. Florissant became a thriving community just north of St. Louis in at the beginning of Eagan's tenure and remained that way until his death. The population was between 50,000 and 70,000 throughout his almost 40 years of service.
He was known as "The Jolly Green Giant" and was highly visible around town in his Kelly green jacket. He even managed to anger some Army veterans by painting a tank at Bangert Park Kelly Green instead of Army Green. After some protest Eagan reluctantly agreed to let the men paint it Army green.
Eagan tried several times in the 1970s to gain higher office by running for St. Louis County Executive, but failed. He claimed that Florissant residents even voted against him "The people in the city of Florissant would come up to my face and tell me, 'We're not going to vote for you -- we don't want you to leave as mayor.'"
Mayor Eagan was sometimes criticised for his lack of allowing redevelopment and his disagreements with the City Council. But during his almost 40 years in office Florissant managed to remain the same, and that is how many people preferred this sleepy, yet large suburb to stay. During his tenure Florissant was routinely ranked as the Safest City in America west of the Mississippi for its population size.
Upon his death in 2000 Eagan was the second longest serving Mayor in America. The community civic center in Florissant is named after the Mayor, boasting the name "James J. Eagan Civic Center" prominently on the side of the massive brick building, in what else but Kelly Green.
Eagan boasted to the River Front times in 2000 after being voted as the St. Louis areas best politician that "I'm going out feet first," when asked if he had any plans to retire. Eagan would die just two months later of an adverse reaction to a prescription drug. His body was donated to science.