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Governor William Forrest Winter

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Office Dates:  Jan 22, 1980 - Jan 10, 1984

Born:  Feb 21, 1923

Birth State:  Mississippi

Party:  Democrat

Family:  Married Elise Varner; three children

School(s):  University of Mississippi

Military Service:  Army

WILLIAM FORREST WINTER was born in Grenada County, Mississippi, in 1923. He graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1943 with a degree in history. After serving with the U.S. Army Infrantry in the Philippines, he entered the University of Mississippi Law School and graudated first in his class in 1949. While a law student, he was elected into state legislature and served for eight years. Winter reentered the Infrantry during the Korean conflict. He served as state tax collector from 1956 to 1964, when the office was abolished at his request. In 1963, he was elected state treasurer. He made an unsuccessful bid for governor in 1967. He was elected lieutenant governor in 1971. In 1975, he made a second unsuccessful attempt at governor and returned to to the full-time practice of law until 1979. He was finally elected governor in 1979. Governor Winter was the chair of the Southern Regional Educational Board, state co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission, and chair of the Southern Growth Policies Board. Aside from statewide education reform, Winter's term is best remembered for its invigorating "dinners at the Mansion," which became the nexus for a cultural Renaissance, a Mississippi Camelot.


Mississippi Historical Society