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William Lewis Guy (September 30, 1919 – April 26, 2013) was an American politician who was the governor of the U.S. state of North Dakota from 1961 to 1973. Guy was North Dakota's longest-serving governor in state history, serving two consecutive two-year terms and two four-year terms in office.[1]

William Guy
William L. Guy North Dakota Governor 1968.jpg
Chair of the National Governors Association
In office
July 4, 1966 – October 16, 1967
Preceded byJohn Reed
Succeeded byJohn Volpe
26th Governor of North Dakota
In office
January 4, 1961 – January 2, 1973
LieutenantIke Hagen
Frank Wenstrom
Charles Tighe
Richard Larsen
Preceded byJohn Davis
Succeeded byArthur Link
Personal details
William Lewis Guy

(1919-09-30)September 30, 1919
Devils Lake, North Dakota, U.S.
DiedApril 26, 2013(2013-04-26) (aged 93)
West Fargo, North Dakota, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Jean Mason (1943–2013)
EducationNorth Dakota State University (BS)
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (MS)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Battles/warsWorld War II


Guy was born in Devils Lake, North Dakota. After receiving his B.S. degree from North Dakota Agricultural College (NDAC), where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Blue Key National Honor Society. He served in the U.S. Navy in World War II as a gunnery officer, achieving the rank of lieutenant. He received a master's degree from the University of Minnesota, and then became the assistant county agent for Cass County. With his wife, the former Jean Mason, whom he married on January 30, 1943,[1] Guy began farming at Amenia, North Dakota, in 1948 and taught agricultural economics at NDAC during the winter quarters.

He served in the North Dakota House of Representatives for one term from 1959 to 1961.[2] In the legislature, Guy served as assistant minority leader. He died in the morning of April 26, 2013 at West Fargo, North Dakota. He was 93.[3] He had Alzheimer's disease.[4]

Years as GovernorEdit

His election as governor on the Democratic-Nonpartisan League ticket finally established the two-party system in North Dakota. As governor, Guy served two two-year terms and two four-year terms. He began modernizing state government by implementing the new Office of Management and Budget. During his terms, the state hospital's patient load was reduced from 2,600 to 600 and eight regional mental health districts were established.[2] Guy organized the five-state Old West Trail Tourist Loop. The interstate highway system, 350 Minuteman missiles, the anti-ballistic missiles site, and Garrison Diversion were large federal projects that came to North Dakota during Guy's watch. He was instrumental in bringing three sugar beet refineries and large scale coal-fired electrical generation to North Dakota. Governor Guy was selected by President Lyndon B. Johnson to observe the first presidential elections in South Vietnam. He originated the concept of an interpretive North Dakota Heritage Center and promoted its construction. The Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award was established by Governor Guy as North Dakota's highest recognition. Guy organized and served as the first chairman of the Midwest Governors' Conference in 1962. In 1966, he was elected chairman of the National Governors' Conference. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the United States Senate in 1974.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Smith, Nick (2013-07-05). "Jean Guy dies at 90". Bismarck Tribune. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
  2. ^ a b "William L. Guy". National Governors Association. 2011. Retrieved September 6, 2012.
  3. ^ "Former Governor William Guy passes away at 93 | WDAY | Fargo, ND". WDAY. 2013-04-26. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
  4. ^ Friday, April 26, 2013 5:42 pm (2013-04-26). "Former North Dakota Gov. Guy dies at age of 93 - The Daily News: Home". Retrieved 2013-07-06.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)

External linksEdit

Party political offices
Preceded by
John Lord
Democratic nominee for Governor of North Dakota
1960, 1962, 1964, 1968
Succeeded by
Arthur Link
Preceded by
Herschel Lashkowitz
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from North Dakota
(Class 3)

Succeeded by
Kent Johanneson
Political offices
Preceded by
John Davis
Governor of North Dakota
Succeeded by
Arthur Link
Preceded by
John Reed
Chair of the National Governors Association
Succeeded by
John Volpe