John Joyce Gilligan, Ohio’s 62nd governor, died Monday at his home in Cincinnati following a long illness. He was 92.
Gilligan served as Ohio’s governor from 1971 to 1975.
The signal accomplishment of his term was passage through a Republican-controlled legislature of the state’s first corporate and individual income taxes. The funds produced were used to greatly expand state support for public education, mental health and other programs. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency also was established during his tenure.
Gilligan lost his 1974 re-election bid to Republican James Rhodes in what was widely viewed as an upset.
Monday evening, President Barack Obama issued the following statement to mark the governor’s passing:
“Jack Gilligan lived his life in service to his fellow Americans, especially those in his home state of Ohio and across the United States who were left out or left behind. During World War II, he earned a Silver Star for his bravery at Okinawa, and he never stopped serving his country—as a Congressman, where he helped enact historic legislation from the Voting Rights Act to Medicare and Medicaid, and then as governor of Ohio.
“In addition to his many other accomplishments, Jack was the father of four extraordinary children, including our Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius.
“Kathleen followed in the high tradition of public service that Jack set, and they became the first father-daughter team of governors in American history. She always made her father proud, and I’m proud to have her on my team each and every day. Michelle and I extend our deepest condolences to Kathleen, the entire Gilligan family, and their many friends.”
Former U.S. Congressman Tony Hall said Gilligan “was a good man and a good governor. He was not afraid to make difficult decisions on tough issues, especially education.”