Frank Couzens

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Frank Couzens
56th Mayor of Detroit, Michigan
In office
May 10, 1933 – September 8, 1933
Preceded byFrank Murphy
Succeeded byJohn W. Smith
58th Mayor of Detroit, Michigan
In office
January 2, 1934 – January 3, 1938
Preceded byJohn W. Smith
Succeeded byRichard Reading
Personal details
BornFebruary 28, 1902 (1902-02-28)
Detroit, Michigan
DiedOctober 31, 1950 (1950-11-01) (aged 48)
Detroit, Michigan

Frank Couzens (February 28, 1902 – October 31, 1950) was the son of United States Senator James J. Couzens, and mayor of Detroit, Michigan during the 1930s.

Early life[edit]

Frank Couzens was born in Detroit on February 28, 1902,[1][2] the son of businessman (and later mayor of Detroit and United States Senator) James J. Couzens.[3] He went to Newman Preparatory School in New Jersey, then returned to Detroit to attend high school.[3] After graduation, he worked as an apprentice in the building trades, then as an inspector for an architectural firm.[3] In 1922, he formed his own building contractor firm.[1]

Frank Couzens married Margaret Lang in 1922;[1] the couple had four sons: Frank Couzens Jr., James Couzens II, Homer J. Couzens, and George L. Couzens; and three daughters: Mrs. Edward C. Roney, Mary Elizabeth Couzens, and Barbara Ann Couzens.[4]


In 1928, then-mayor John C. Lodge appointed Couzens a member of the Detroit Street Railways Commission.[3] He was fired by the next mayor, Charles Bowles, in 1930 after opposing Bowles's effort to raise the streetcar fare.[3] However, the deeply unpopular Bowles was recalled from office, and Frank Murphy reinstated Couzens.[3]

In 1931, Couzens ran for a seat on the Detroit City Council, and garnered enough votes to become council president.[3] When Murphy resigned in 1933 to become governor of the Philippines, Couzens became acting mayor.[3] He resigned the mayor's office on September 8, 1933, to concentrate on receiving the Republican nomination for the office.[5] He was elected mayor twice, filling out four years in office.[3]

Later life[edit]

After stepping down from the mayor's office, Couzens retired from politics[2] and founded the Wabeek Bank of Detroit, whose chairman he remained for the next 12 years.[6] He died after a long battle with cancer on October 31, 1950.[2] Wabeek Bank would after a series of mergers become part of Comerica.

Political offices
Preceded by
Frank Murphy
Mayor of Detroit
May 10 – September 8, 1933
Succeeded by
John W. Smith
Preceded by
John W. Smith
Mayor of Detroit
January 2, 1934 – January 3, 1938
Succeeded by
Richard Reading


  1. ^ a b c Who's Who in Detroit, 1935-36, Walter Romig & Co, 1935, p. 79
  2. ^ a b c "Modest rites for Couzens". The Windsor Daily Star. Nov 1, 1950.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Following in the Footsteps of His Dad". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. Nov 15, 1935.
  4. ^ "Frank Couzens". Toledo Blade. Nov 1, 1950.
  5. ^ "Couzens To Make Mayoralty Drive". Miami News. Aug 6, 1933.
  6. ^ "Ex-Mayor of Detroit Dies". Schenectady Gazette. Nov 1, 1950.