William Lewis Guy

Sept. 30, 1919-April 26, 2013
North Dakota Governor 1961-1973

Bill Guy was born in Devils Lake, N.D. and grew up on a farm near Amenia N.D. He earned his bachelor of science degree from North Dakota Agricultural College (NDAC), then served in the U.S. Navy in World War II. He received a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota, then became the assistant county agent for Cass County. Guy and his wife, Jean, began farming near Amenia in 1948, and he taught at NDAC during the winter quarters.

Guy served in the North Dakota House of Representatives for one term, 1959-1961, and was the assistant minority leader. He was elected governor on the Democratic Non-Partisan League ticket, and went on to serve two two-year terms and two four-year terms.

Guy modernized state government by implementing the new Office of Management and Budget, and during his terms the State Hospital’s patient load was reduced by 2,000 patients. The interstate highway system, 350 Minuteman missiles and Garrison Diversion were large federal projects that came to the state while he was in office. He also was instrumental in bringing three sugar beet refineries and large scale coal-fired electrical generation to the state.

Guy organized the five-state Old West Trail Tourist Loop, and the concept of an interpretive North Dakota Heritage Center started with him. He also established the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award as North Dakota’s highest recognition. In 1962, Guy organized and served as the first chair of the Midwest Governor’s Conference, and in 1966 he was elected chair of the National Governor’s Conference. After serving as governor, he and his wife moved to Casselton. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. Senate in 1974.

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