Back to former Maine governors
John Hathaway Reed

Gov. John Hathaway Reed

  • December 1, 1959 - January 1, 1967
  • Republican
  • January 5, 1921
  • October 31, 2012
  • Maine
  • University of Maine, Harvard Naval Supply School
  • Married Cora Mitchell Davison; two children
  • Succeeded, NGA Chair
  • Ambassador
  • Navy


JOHN HATHAWAY REED was born in Fort Fairfield, Maine on January 5, 1921. He attended local schools, received a B.S. from the University of Maine in 1942, and graduated from Harvard Naval Supply School in 1944. He was a lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve and was on active duty during World War II. Following his discharge, Reed joined his father’s potato business and dabbled in harness racing. In 1953 he held a seat on the Maine Water Improvement Commission but resigned a year later to run for the Maine House of Representatives. Serving a single term in the House from 1955 to 1957, he ran for the Maine Senate in 1957 and upon reelection in 1959 was chosen Senate President. On September 20, 1959, Reed became Maine’s Governor upon the death of Clinton Clauson. In 1960 he defeated Democrat Frank Coffin to serve out the remainder of Clauson’s term. He won Maine’s first four-year term as Governor with a narrow victory over Democrat Maynard Dolloff in 1962. During his tenure, Governor Reed served on the Executive Committee of the National Governors’ Conference from 1963 to 1964, and from 1965 to 1966. He chaired the association in 1965 and the New England Governors’ Conference from 1965 to 1966. In November 1966, Reed lost a reelection bid and was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson to the National Transportation Safety Board, presumably as his reward for staunch support of Johnson’s Vietnam policy. In 1976 and 1981, he served as the U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldive Islands.

Recent Maine Governors