John J. Gilligan

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John J. Gilligan
John J. Gilligan 89th Congress 1965.jpg
62nd Governor of Ohio
In office
January 11, 1971 – January 13, 1975
Lieutenant John Brown
Preceded by Jim Rhodes
Succeeded by Jim Rhodes
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 1st district
In office
January 3, 1965 – January 3, 1967
Preceded by Carl Rich
Succeeded by Robert Taft, Jr.
Personal details
Born John Joyce Gilligan
(1921-03-22)March 22, 1921
Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
Died August 26, 2013(2013-08-26) (aged 92)
Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Mary Kathryn Dixon
(1945–1996) (her death)
Dr. Susan Fremont
(2000–2013) (his death)
Relations K. Gary Sebelius (son-in-law)
Children Kathleen
3 others
Alma mater University of Notre Dame
University of Cincinnati
Religion Roman Catholicism[1]
Military service
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1942-1945
Rank Lieutenant
Battles/wars World War II

John Joyce "Jack" Gilligan (March 22, 1921 – August 26, 2013) was an American Democratic politician from the state of Ohio who served as a U.S. Representative and as the 62nd Governor of Ohio from 1971 to 1975.[2] He was the father of Kathleen Sebelius, who later served as Governor of Kansas and United States Secretary of Health and Human Services. Gilligan and Sebelius are the only father and daughter ever to have both been elected state governors.[2]

Early life

Gilligan was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of Blanche and Harry Gilligan, a funeral home operator. His twin sister was Jeanne Joyce Gilligan.[3] His family was Irish Catholic.[4] Gilligan graduated from St. Xavier High School in 1939,[5] the University of Notre Dame in 1943 and the University of Cincinnati College of Law in 1947, serving in between in the United States Navy during World War II in the Atlantic, Pacific and Mediterranean as a destroyer gunnery officer. He was awarded a Silver Star for gallantry in action at Okinawa.


After the war, Gilligan returned to Cincinnati to teach literature at Xavier University from 1948 to 1953. He also served as member of the Cincinnati city council from 1953 to 1963, and was a candidate for Ohio Congressman-at-Large in 1962. In 1964 he was elected to the Eighty-ninth Congress as a representative for Ohio's 1st district, serving from January 3, 1965 – January 3, 1967. Gilligan narrowly lost his re-election bid to the Ninetieth Congress in 1966 to Republican Robert Taft Jr. after the Republican-controlled Ohio General Assembly redrew his district to favor the Republican Party.[2] In 1968, Gilligan defeated sitting U.S. Senator Frank J. Lausche in the Democratic primary; however, he narrowly lost in the general election to Republican William B. Saxbe after Lausche refused to support him in the general election.

Gilligan won the election for the Governorship of Ohio in 1970, defeating Republican state Auditor Roger Cloud, and serving from 1971 to 1975. His signature achievement in office was the creation of Ohio's state income tax.[6] Gilligan lost reelection in the strongly Democratic Watergate year of 1974 to former Republican governor James A. Rhodes (who had been barred from running in 1970 due to term limits) by only 11,488 votes out of 3,072,010 cast. The unpopularity of the income tax was seen by many as the reason for his defeat.[7]

Gilligan subsequently served as the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) from 1977 to 1979. He served as director of the Institute for Public Policy from 1979 to 1986, and taught at the University of Notre Dame from 1986 to 1992. He also served as director of the civic issues forum at the University of Cincinnati School of Law.[2]

In 1999, Gilligan was elected to the Board of Education of the Cincinnati Public Schools. He chose not to stand for re-election when his term expired in 2007.

Gilligan was the father of four children, including Kathleen Sebelius, who served as Governor of Kansas and United States Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Gilligan died at home in Cincinnati on August 26, 2013 at the age of 92. His son said he died of congestive heart failure.[8]

UFO sighting

On October 17, 1973, Gilligan, while governor, claimed to have seen a UFO while driving near Ann Arbor, Michigan. During a press conference he stated: “I saw one (UFO) the other night, so help me. I’m absolutely serious. I saw this."[9][10]

See also


  1. John J. Gilligan
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 John J. Gilligan at Ohio History Central
  3. [1]
  4. Article
  5. Motz, Mark D. (July 10, 2008). "Volume V, Issue 16". St. Xavier High School E-News (Mailing list). Retrieved July 11, 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Toledo Blade obit
  7. Ohio Secretary of State website
  8. Former Gov. John Gilligan dies at 92
  9. Space Invaders
  10. UFO reported by Ohio Governor John Gilligan

External links