William Stratton

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Billy Stratton
William Stratton.jpg
Chair of the National Governors Association
In office
June 23, 1957 – May 18, 1958
Preceded by Thomas B. Stanley
Succeeded by LeRoy Collins
32nd Governor of Illinois
In office
January 12, 1953 – January 9, 1961
Lieutenant John William Chapman
Preceded by Adlai Stevenson
Succeeded by Otto Kerner Jr.
Treasurer of Illinois
In office
January 8, 1951 – January 12, 1953
Governor Adlai Stevenson
Preceded by Ora Smith
Succeeded by Elmer J. Hoffman
In office
January 11, 1943 – January 8, 1945
Governor Dwight H. Green
Preceded by Warren Wright
Succeeded by Conrad F. Becker
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's at-large district
In office
January 3, 1947 – January 3, 1949
Preceded by Emily Taft Douglas
Succeeded by Constituency abolished
In office
January 3, 1941 – January 3, 1943
Preceded by John Martin
Thomas Smith
Succeeded by Stephen A. Day
Personal details
Born (1914-02-26)February 26, 1914
Ingleside, Illinois, U.S.
Died March 2, 2001(2001-03-02) (aged 87)
Resting place Rosehill Cemetery
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Shirley Stratton
Education University of Arizona (BA)
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1945–1946
Rank Lieutenant
Battles/wars World War II

William Grant Stratton (February 26, 1914 – March 2, 2001),[1][2] known as "Billy the Kid", was the 32nd Governor of Illinois from 1953 to 1961, succeeding Adlai Stevenson II in that office.[3]

Born February 26, 1914 in Ingleside, Lake County, Illinois, the son of William J. Stratton, an Illinois politician, and Zula Van Wormer Stratton, he served two non-consecutive terms as an at-large Congressman from Illinois, elected in 1940 and 1946. He was elected State Treasurer in 1944 and 1950. He won the Republican nomination for governor in 1952, then defeated Lt. Governor Sherwood Dixon to become the youngest governor in America at that time.

Stratton was re-elected governor in 1956. In 1960 he ran for an unprecedented third consecutive term, but was defeated by Democrat Otto Kerner, Jr.

Stratton was acquitted on charges of tax evasion in 1965.[4] In 1968, he ran in the Republican primary for Governor and was defeated by Richard B. Ogilvie.

In retirement, Stratton resided in Chicago. At the time of his death, he was a member of the Illinois Civil Service Commission.

He died at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago on March 2, 2001, aged 87. Among his pallbearers were his successors as governor, James R. Thompson, Jim Edgar, and George Ryan.

The following are named in his honor:


U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
John Martin
Thomas Smith
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's at-large congressional district

Served alongside: Stephen A. Day
Succeeded by
Stephen A. Day
Preceded by
Emily Taft Douglas
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's at-large congressional district

Constituency abolished
Political offices
Preceded by
Warren Wright
Treasurer of Illinois
Succeeded by
Conrad F. Becker
Preceded by
Ora Smith
Treasurer of Illinois
Succeeded by
Elmer J. Hoffman
Preceded by
Adlai Stevenson
Governor of Illinois
Succeeded by
Otto Kerner Jr.
Preceded by
Thomas B. Stanley
Chair of the National Governors Association
Succeeded by
LeRoy Collins
Party political offices
Preceded by
Dwight H. Green
Republican nominee for Governor of Illinois
1952, 1956, 1960
Succeeded by
Charles H. Percy