Back to former Nevada governors
Grant Sawyer

Gov. Grant Sawyer

  • January 2, 1959 - January 2, 1967
  • Democratic
  • December 14, 1918
  • February 19, 1996
  • Idaho
  • Linfield College (Oregon); University of Nevada; George Washington University
  • Married Bette Hoge; one child
  • NGA Chair
  • Army
  • Bronze Star


GRANT SAWYER, the twenty-first governor of Nevada, was born in Twin Falls, Idaho, on December 14, 1918. His education was attained at the University of Nevada, where he graduated in 1941, and later he attended George Washington University, where he earned a law degree in 1947. During World War II, he served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army. After his military service, Sawyer established a successful career in the legal and political fields. He served as the Elko County district attorney from 1950 to 1958, was the chairman of the Nevada Democratic Party in 1955, and served as a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1956, 1960, and 1964. Sawyer next secured the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote in November 1958. He was reelected to a second term in 1962. During his tenure, desegregation and civil rights was advanced, a human rights commission was created, the state government was restructured, and a Gambling Commission was established. After running unsuccessfully for a third term, Sawyer left office on January 2, 1967. He retired from public service, returning to his Carson City legal practice. Governor Grant Sawyer passed away on February 19, 1996, and was buried in the Palm Valley View Memorial Park in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Governors of the American States, Commonwealths and Territories, National Governors' Conference, 1966.

Las Vegas Review-Journal

Nevada State Archives: Grant Sawyer 1959-1967

Nevada State Library and Archives: Nevada Governors' Biographical Information

The Political Graveyard

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

University of Nevada Libraries

Recent Nevada Governors