John W. Reynolds, Jr. bigraphy, stories - United States federal judge

John W. Reynolds, Jr. : biography

April 4, 1921 - January 7, 2002

John Whitcome Reynolds, Jr. (April 4, 1921January 6, 2002) was an American politician and federal judge. A Democrat, he served as the 36th Governor of Wisconsin.


Life and career

Reynolds was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin to John W. Reynolds, Sr. and his wife. After serving in the United States Army from 1942 to 1946, he received a Ph.B. from University of Wisconsin in 1946 and an LL.B. from University of Wisconsin Law School in 1949. Reynolds was a district director for the U.S. Office of Price Stabilization from 1951 to 1953. He then served as a U.S. Commissioner for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin from 1953 to 1958.

Reynolds was elected Attorney General for Wisconsin, serving in that role from 1959 to 1963. In November, 1962 was elected Governor of Wisconsin, serving from 1963 to 1965.

Reynolds opposed segregationist George Wallace in the 1964 Democratic presidential primaries who would otherwise have run unopposed, as Lyndon Johnson refused to say he was in the race. Like the other "favorite sons" who ran in Johnson's place (such as Matthew E. Welsh and Daniel Brewster), he won his state's primaries. As is required, Wisconsin delegates to the 1964 Democratic National Convention voted for Reynolds on the first ballot, then voted for Johnson.

On October 13, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed him judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin to a seat vacated by Kenneth P. Grubb. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on October 21, 1965 and received his commission the same day. He served as chief judge from 1971 to 1986. Reynolds assumed senior status on August 31, 1986, and served until his death.

Reynolds died in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at age 80 of complications from heart disease. In 1947, he had married Patricia Ann Brady, who preceded him in death in 1967 and in 1971 married Jane C. Conway.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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