J. HUGO ARONSON, the fourteenth governor of Montana, was born in Gallstad, Sweden on September 1, 1891. His education was limited and attained in the public schools of his native country. In 1911 he immigrated to the United States, where he traveled to numerous states, working various odd jobs. He eventually settled in Sunburst, Montana and became established in the oil rigging business. Aronson first entered politics as alderman of the Cut Bank City Council, a position he held from 1934 to 1938. He also served as a member of the Montana House of Representatives from 1939 to 1944, and was a member of the Montana State Senate from 1945 to 1952. Aronson next secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote on November 4, 1952. He was reelected to a second term in 1956. During his tenure, the state forestry office was restructured; a gasoline tax was initiated that funded the highway department; prison reform programs were instituted; a legislative council was founded; and a prison riot was dealt with. After completing his term, Aronson stayed active in Republican politics. In 1968, he served as the honorary state campaign chairman for Richard Nixon’s presidential race. Governor J. Hugo Aronson passed away on February 25, 1978, and was buried in the Pleasant View Cemetery in Davenport, Washington.
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.