ARNOLD WILLIAMS was born in Fillmore, Utah, on May 21, 1898. His education was attained in the Fillmore public school system and at Hennager’s Business College in Salt Lake City. Williams served with the U.S. Infantry during World War I. After his discharge from the army, he moved to Rexburg, Idaho and established a successful dry cleaning business. Williams entered politics in 1932, serving as a Madison County commissioner, a position he held two terms. He also was elected to the Rexburg School Board eight times. He also served as a member to the Idaho House of Representatives from 1936 to 1942, was majority floor leader in 1941, and was Idaho’s lieutenant governor in 1945. In November 1945, Governor Charles C. Gossett retired from office, and Williams, who was lieutenant governor at the time, assumed the duties of the governorship. During his tenure, he organized a special session of the legislature, in which the administration of state charitable institutions was restructured, and the teachers’ retirement law was passed, granting retirement at the age of 60 and making the retirement age 70 mandatory. Also, Williams proclaimed May 22, 1946, National Maritime Day, honoring all American merchant marines. After losing his 1946 election bid, Williams left office on January 6, 1947. He later served as secretary of state from 1959 to 1966, and was secretary of the Idaho State Senate in 1957. He also was Post Commander of the Rexburg American Legion and was past President of Rexburg Rotary Club. Governor Arnold Williams died on May 25, 1970, and was buried at the Fielding Memorial Park in Idaho Falls.
Idaho State Historical Society Gubernatorial Manuscript and Archive Collections:
- Governor Arnold Williams papers. AR2/21.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.