Murray Van Wagoner
|Murray Van Wagoner|
|38th Governor of Michigan|
January 1, 1941 – January 1, 1943
|Preceded by||Luren Dickinson|
|Succeeded by||Harry Kelly|
|Born||March 18, 1898
|Died||June 12, 1986 (aged 88)
Farmington Hills, Michigan
|Alma mater||University of Michigan|
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, a position he held until he was elected governor in 1940.
On November 5, 1940, he defeated the incumbent Republican Governor of Michigan, Luren Dickinson, 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.
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 in the general election against Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Retirement, death and legacy
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.
|Governor of Michigan