2013-05-02 / Obituaries

William L. ‘Bill’ Guy, 93, of Fargo

William L. Guy William L. Guy Former North Dakota Governor, William L. “Bill” Guy, 93, of Fargo, died of Alzheimer’s disease, on Friday, April 26, 2013, at Eventide at Sheyenne Crossings, West Fargo. Bill was elected to four terms as Governor and served from 1961 to 1973.

William Lewis Guy was born Sept. 30, 1919, in Devils Lake, son of William L. and Mable (Leet) Guy.

Bill graduated from Amenia High School in 1937. In later years, Bill served as President of the Amenia Public School Board, was a 4-H leader and council member at large for Boy Scouts of America.

He graduated in 1941 from the North Dakota Agricultural College (now North Dakota State University), Fargo. He obtained his Master’s of Science degree in 1946 from the University of Minnesota.

Bill served as a Lieutenant Senior Grade in the U.S. Navy, on the USS William D. Porter, from 1942 to 1945.

On Jan. 30, 1943, Bill married Elizabeth Jean Mason in Fargo.

Bill was a livestock salesman at Union Stockyards, West Fargo in 1946 and became an Assistant County Agent for Cass County in 1947. He owned and operated a farm supply business, with Corman Bean, from 1948 to 1952. During this time, he farmed near Amenia until 1960, and taughtAgricultural Economics at NDAC during the winter quarters, from 1952 to 1958.

Bill began his political career in 1959, as a member of the N.D. House of Representatives, where he served as Assistant Minority Floor Leader.

After being elected Governor in 1960, Bill served as Chairman of the Missouri River States Governor’s Committee, Chairman and founder of the Midwest Governor's Conference, Old West Trail Tourism Group, and Explorer’s Highroad Tourism Group and was the organizer of the Souris-Red- Rainy River Basin Commission, Old West Regional Commission, and Missouri River Basin Commission.

On the national level, Bill served as chairman of the National Governor’s Conference, and was an Election Observer for President Johnson in South Vietnam and a member of President Johnson’s Commission on Health Facilities.

Bill served as Democratic Precinct Committeeman from 1950 to 1960. He became a member of the Non-Partisan League in 1954, and was instrumental in its merger with the Democratic Party in 1960.

He served on the National Campaign Committee for Hubert Humphrey in 1968 and 1972 and he was Chairman of the National Farmers and Ranchers for George McGovern in 1972.

Bill did not seek re-election to a fifth term as Governor. Instead he retired to Casselton in January of 1973, where he and Jean built a home only eight miles from the family farm now owned and operated by their son, Jim.

Bill was an unsuccessful Democratic-NPL candidate for the U.S. Senate, losing to U.S. Sen. Milton Young by a recounted margin of 186 votes in 1976.

Early in 1975, Bill accepted the invitation to organize the ten-state Western Governors’ Regional Energy Policy Office in Denver, Colo., and served as its Staff Director for two years.

In 1977, he returned to North Dakota to help organize and serve as the first Executive Director of the state-wide North Dakota Community Foundation with its central office in Casselton.

In 1979, Bill was appointed Chairman of the North Dakota Public Employees Retirement Board by Governor Art Link and in 1981 was reappointed by Governor Allen Olson. He retired from the board in 1986.

In September 1979, Bill and Jean moved to Bismarck, after he accepted a position as Resources Consultant to Basin Electric Power Cooperative. He retired from Basin Electric in 1985.

In 1988, Bill was named to the Board of Directors of the Dakota Gasification Company, the only commercial producer in the U.S of synthetic natural gas from coal where he served for 12 years.

Bill served on the National Governing Board of Common Cause from 1986 to 1992. In 1993, he and Jean moved to Fargo.

In 2000, Bill was named Honorary Chairman of the newly organized North Dakota State Board of Dollars for Scholars.

Bill was a member of Farmers Union, American Legion, VFW and the Elks. He served as a Sunday school teacher and an elder in the Presbyterian Church in Casselton.

Bill is survived by his wife, Jean, Fargo; children, William (Marilyn) Guy III, Fargo, James (Jane) Guy, Amenia, Deborah Igoe, Bismarck, Holly (Dale) Mossberg, New London, Minn.; Nancy (Greg Stites) Guy, Bismarck; his brother, John (Ruth) Guy, Rochester, Minn.; seven grandchildren, Stephanie (Matt) Gruchalla, Mark (Christine) Guy, Cari Guy, TJ Guy, Cody Igoe, Caitlin Igoe and Jamie Mossberg; and three greatgrandchildren, Brooklynn and Makenna Igoe, and Greta Gruchalla.

He was preceded in death by his parents, William and Mable Guy; and brother, James.

A Fargo Memorial Service was held Tuesday, April 30, 2013, at First Presbyterian Church.

ABismarck Memorial Service will be held Thursday, May 2, 2013, at 10 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 214 East ThayerAvenue, Bismarck. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service.

A private burial will take place at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, south of Mandan.

In lieu of flowers, the Guy family encourages the public to send memorials to Dollars for Scholars, PO Box 5509, Bismarck, ND 58506-5509, The Salvation Army, 304 Roberts Street N, Fargo, ND 58102, and/or any favorite charity that is making a difference in the lives of our fellow North Dakotans.

(Hanson-Runsvold Funeral Home, Fargo).

Please feel free to sign the on-line guestbook at www.hansonrunsvold.com.

Return to top