Murray Van Wagoner

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Murray Van Wagoner
Murray D. Van Wagoner.jpg
38th Governor of Michigan
In office
January 1, 1941 – January 1, 1943
Lieutenant Frank Murphy
Preceded by Luren Dickinson
Succeeded by Harry Kelly
Personal details
Born March 18, 1898
Kingston, Michigan
Died June 12, 1986 (aged 88)
Farmington Hills, Michigan
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Helen Jossman
Religion Episcopalian

Murray Delos Van Wagoner (March 18, 1898 – June 12, 1986) was an American politician. He served as the 38th Governor of Michigan from 1941 to 1943.

Early life[edit]

Van Wagoner was born near Kingston, Michigan in Tuscola County. In 1921, he received a civil engineering degree from the University of Michigan. He worked for a firm in the private sector, and became the owner of his own company. He married Helen Jossman and they had two children together. In 1930, he served as Oakland County drain commissioner until 1933 when he became Michigan State Highway commissioner which he served until 1942.

Politics[edit]

Van Wagoner was a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1936 and 1940 which both re-nominated Franklin D. Roosevelt for U.S. President.

On November 5, 1940, he defeated the incumbent Republican Governor of Michigan Luren Dickenson by 131,281 votes to become Michigan's 38th governor. During his two years in office, he encouraged the construction of road projects and most famously the Mackinac Bridge, the elimination of a 27 million dollar deficit occurred, the state mental hospital was reinstated, a consolidated tax collection department was established, worker strikes involving the auto and electrical industries were dealt with, the reorganization of the Michigan civil service system was initialized, and measures were secured for the war effort.

In 1942, Van Wagoner was unsuccessful for re-election against Republican Harry Kelly.

Van Wagoner was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1944 which re-nominated President Roosevelt for his fourth term. In 1946, he was defeated in his gubernatorial bid against Kim Sigler, who won the general election. He was also a delegate to the 1952 convention which nominated Adlai Stevenson who was unsuccessful against Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Retirement, death and legacy[edit]

Van Wagoner retired from political life and returned to his engineering interests. He was a member of American Legion, Freemasons, Elks, and the National Exchange Club. He died at the age of eighty-eight in Farmington Hills, Michigan. He is interred at White Chapel Memorial Park Cemetery of Troy.

Today the Michigan Department of Transportation building in Lansing is named after him, The Murray Van Wagoner Transportation Building.

References[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Luren Dickinson
Governor of Michigan
1941–1943
Succeeded by
Harry Kelly