William Stratton

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]

William G. Stratton
32nd Governor of Illinois
In office
January 12, 1953  January 9, 1961
LieutenantJohn William Chapman
Preceded byAdlai Stevenson
Succeeded byOtto Kerner Jr.
Chair of the National Governors Association
In office
June 23, 1957  May 18, 1958
Preceded byThomas B. Stanley
Succeeded byLeRoy Collins
52nd & 56th Treasurer of Illinois
In office
January 8, 1951  January 12, 1953
GovernorAdlai Stevenson
Preceded byOra Smith
Succeeded byElmer J. Hoffman
In office
January 11, 1943  January 8, 1945
GovernorDwight H. Green
Preceded byWarren Wright
Succeeded byConrad 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 byEmily Taft Douglas
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
In office
January 3, 1941  January 3, 1943
Preceded byJohn Martin
Thomas Smith
Succeeded byStephen A. Day
Personal details
Born(1914-02-26)February 26, 1914
Ingleside, Illinois, U.S.
DiedMarch 2, 2001(2001-03-02) (aged 87)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Resting placeRosehill Cemetery
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Shirley Stratton
EducationUniversity of Arizona (BA)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Years of service1945–1946
Battles/warsWorld War II

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 1942 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. Stratton finished a distant third, with only about seven percent of the primary vote.[5]

In 1934, he married Marion Hook. They had two children, Sandra (born 1936) and Diana (born 1939). Stratton and his wife spent most of their time apart due to his hectic political schedule, and Marion became dissatisfied with the marriage. Additionally, Marion despised the political arena and expressed distaste at her husband's relatively meager salary.[6] Although Stratten did not want a divorce, his wife Marion insisted that they end the marriage. He obtained a divorce from her on the grounds of desertion in 1949. Although Marion was granted custody of the children, they nevertheless lived with primarily with Stratton until 1952.[7] In 1950, Stratton married Shirley Breckenridge (born 1923). They have a daughter, Nancy.[8] His second marriage was a very happy one, and Shirley actively campaigned for her husband. The two remained married until his death.[9]

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
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.