JOHN WILLIAM BROWN was born in Athens, Ohio. He was a member of the Ohio Highway Patrol before serving as a Commander in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II. He became involved in a variety of business endeavors, including merchandising, real estate, and insurance. He served as Mayor of Medina, Ohio from 1950 until 1953, when he became Ohio’s Lieutenant Governor. In 1956 he was defeated in the Republican gubernatorial primary. However, that same presidential election year, incumbent Democratic Governor Frank Lausche resigned after being elected to the U.S. Senate, and as Lieutenant Governor, Brown succeeded to the governorship briefly until Crane O’Neill—the candidate who had defeated him in the Republican primary and gone on to win the general election—was inaugurated. During his eleven days as governor, Brown addressed the legislature, stressing the need for additional school funding, natural resource conservation, and urban planning. He helped end hostilities and secured an agreement for negotiations in a strike against the Ohio Consolidated Telephone Company at Portsmouth. Brown went on to win election to both the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate and was elected Lieutenant Governor once again in 1962, serving for more than a decade. He was also President and Director of Investors Heritage Life Insurance Company of Ohio, Chair of the Ohio Commission on Interstate Cooperation, and Commander-in-Chief of the Ohio Military and Naval Forces
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
The Ohio Historical Center