MILLS EDWIN GODWIN JR. was born in Chuckatuck, Nansemond County, Virginia. He attended the College of William and Mary and received a law degree in 1939 from the University of Virginia. Following a brief career (1942-46) as a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Godwin opened a law office in Suffolk where he practiced until he was elected governor in 1965. He served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1948 to 1952 and in the state senate from 1952 to 1960. He was lieutenant governor of Virginia from 1962 to 1966. After serving as governor from 1966 to 1970, Governor Godwin became a director of Standard Brands, Inc., Norfolk and Western Railway Company, Union Camp Corporation, Virginia Real Estate Investment Trust, and Dan River, Inc., and he served as a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of Virginia National Bank. He resigned from all these posts after being elected governor a second time in November 1973. He is the first person ever elected twice in Virginia to serve as chief executive. During his tenure, instituted the first sales tax in the state to support a newly-instituted Community College System. He also reinstated the death penalty. Godwin chaired the Southern Regional Education Board, served on the National Governors’ Conference Executive Committee and as a member of the Governing Board of the Council of State Governments.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols