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Harris Francis Kelly

Gov. Harris Francis Kelly

  • January 1, 1943 - January 1, 1947
  • Republican
  • April 19, 1895
  • February 8, 1971
  • Illinois
  • University of Notre Dame; Notre Dame Law School
  • Married Anne V. O'Brien; six children
  • Army


HARRY F. KELLY, the thirty-ninth governor of Michigan, was born in Ottawa, Illinois on April 19, 1895. His education was attained at the University of Notre Dame, where he earned a LL.B. degree in 1917. During World War I, he served overseas in the U.S. Army, was wounded and lost a leg. After his military service, Kelly established a career in public service. He served as the state’s attorney for LaSalle County, Illinois from 1920 to 1924, was the assistant prosecuting attorney for Wayne County, Michigan from 1930 to 1934, and served as the secretary of state of Michigan from 1939 to 1942. Kelly next secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote on November 3, 1942. During his tenure, state government was reorganized; and a grand jury was convened to examine misappropriations in the legislature. After completing his term, Kelly left office on January 1, 1947.  He later served as an associate justice of the Michigan State Supreme Court from 1953 to 1970. Governor Harry F. Kelly passed away on February 8, 1971 in West Palm Beach, Florida.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

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