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John William Byrnes (June 12, 1913 – January 12, 1985) was a U.S. Representative from Wisconsin.

John W. Byrnes
circa 1956
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 8th district
In office
January 3, 1945 – January 3, 1973
Preceded byLaVern Dilweg
Succeeded byHarold Vernon Froehlich
Member of the Wisconsin Senate
from the 2nd district
In office
Preceded byMichael F. Kresky, Jr.
Succeeded byHarold A. Lytie
Personal details
John William Byrnes

(1913-06-12)June 12, 1913
Green Bay, Wisconsin
DiedJanuary 12, 1985(1985-01-12) (aged 71)
Marshfield, Wisconsin
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Barbara Preston Byrnes
Children6 (3 sons, 3 daughters)
Alma materUniversity of Wisconsin

Byrnes was the U.S. Representative for Wisconsin's 8th congressional district from 1945 to 1973. During this time he was the chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee from 1959 to 1965 and was later the ranking minority member of the Committee on Ways and Means from 1963 to 1972.[1]

Life and careerEdit

Byrnes was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the son of Harriet (Schumacher) and Charles W. Byrnes.[2] Byrnes contracted polio as a small child.[3] He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1936, and then attended its law school. After graduation, Byrnes practiced law in Green Bay, and served as deputy commissioner of the state's department of banking from 1938 to 1941. He served in the state senate from 1941-1945, representing the 2nd District.[4]

Byrnes was elected in 1944 as a Republican to the 79th Congress from Wisconsin's 8th district. He defeated one-term incumbent LaVern Dilweg, a notable former professional football player with the Green Bay Packers. Byrnes was reelected to the thirteen succeeding Congresses, and served 28 years from January 1945 to January 1973, making him the 8th district's longest serving representative. In 1964, the Wisconsin delegates to the 1964 Republican National Convention were pledged to support Byrnes, but he released the delegates to support the candidates they individually chose.[5] He did not seek a fifteenth term in 1972 to the 93rd Congress.

After Congress, stayed in Washington to practice law and continued to reside in Arlington, Virginia. While traveling to Wisconsin for a medical check-up at the Marshfield Clinic, he suffered a stroke at the Central Wisconsin Airport in Mosinee[6] and died several days later in Marshfield on January 12, 1985.[3][7] He was buried in Green Bay at Allouez Catholic Cemetery.


  1. ^ "John W. Byrnes papers, 1938-1972".
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ a b "Byrnes, ex-member of Congress, dies". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. January 14, 1985. p. 2, part 2.
  4. ^ John Byrnes, Wisconsin Historical Society
  5. ^ Foran, Christopher. "Our Back Pages: At 1964 political conventions, Wisconsin 'candidates' played a role". Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  6. ^ "Ex-congressman on critical list after stroke". Milwaukee Sentinel. January 9, 1985. p. 13, part 1.
  7. ^ "Former Rep. Byrnes, 71, dies after stroke". Milwaukee Sentinel. January 14, 1985. p. 9, part 1.

External linksEdit