Wesley Bolin

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Wesley Bolin
Wesley Bolin (Arizona governor).jpg
15th Governor of Arizona
In office
October 20, 1977 – March 4, 1978
Preceded by Raúl H. Castro
Succeeded by Bruce Babbitt
11th Secretary of State of Arizona
In office
January 3, 1949 – October 20, 1977
Governor Dan Edward Garvey
John Howard Pyle
Ernest McFarland
Paul Fannin
Samuel Pearson Goddard, Jr.
Jack Williams
Raúl H. Castro
Preceded byCurtis M. Williams
Succeeded by Rose Perica Mofford
Personal details
Harvey Wesley Bolin

(1909-07-01)July 1, 1909
near Butler, Missouri, U.S.
DiedMarch 4, 1978(1978-03-04) (aged 68)
Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Julia Hentz
( m. 1940; div. 1967)

Marion Knappenberger
( m. 1967)
Alma mater Phoenix College
La Salle Extension University
Profession Businessman

Wesley Bolin (July 1, 1909 – March 4, 1978) was an American Democratic Party politician who served as the 15th governor of the U.S. state of Arizona between 1977 and 1978. His five months in office mark the shortest term in office for any Arizona governor. Prior to ascending to the Governorship, Bolin was the longest serving Secretary of State of Arizona, where he served for 28 years.

Life and death

A view of the Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza

Harvey Wesley Bolin was born on a farm near Butler, Missouri, a son of Doc Strother Bolin (1878-1946) and Margaret (Combs) Bolin (1885-1966). [1] His family moved to Arizona when he was six, and Bolin was raised and educated in Phoenix. [1] He attended Isaac Elementary School, [1] graduated from Phoenix Union High School, and attended Phoenix College. [2] Bolin became active in the dry cleaning business and completed an LL.B. degree from La Salle Extension University. [2]

Active in politics as a Democrat, Bolin was elected constable of West Phoenix Precinct in 1938. [2] From 1943 until 1948, he was the West Phoenix Precinct's justice of the peace. [2] While serving as a justice, Bolin was one of the organizers of the Arizona Justices of the Peace and Constables Association. [1]

Bolin served as Arizona's secretary of state for a total of 28 years, 9 months, 18 days (or 10,518 days), and remains the longest-serving secretary of state in Arizona history. [3] He was first elected to the state's second highest-post in 1948 and was re-elected every two years between 1950 and 1968, when executive offices had two-year terms, and twice more in 1970 and 1974, when four-year terms began. Only in his last three runs did he encounter significant challenges, culminating in him almost losing his thirteenth campaign in 1974.

He succeeded to the governorship after the previous governor, Raúl H. Castro, was named ambassador to Argentina by President Jimmy Carter. Under the Arizona Constitution, the secretary of state, if he or she was elected to that position, is first in line to fill a vacancy in the governorship. Bolin was the second secretary of state to succeed to the Arizona governorship, after Dan Edward Garvey in 1948.

Bolin died at home of a heart attack on March 4, 1978. [4] [5] He was cremated and his ashes were scattered at multiple sites, one in each of Arizona's 14 counties. [6]

After Bolin's death, Bruce Babbitt succeeded to the governorship. [7] Rose Mofford had been appointed by Bolin to finish his term as secretary of state, and was ineligible to succeed to him as governor because she was not an elected official. [7] Babbitt, then serving as state Attorney General, was second in line and had been elected. [7] He finished the remaining nine months of the term, then was elected to two terms as governor in his own right.

The Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza near the capitol in Phoenix, Arizona, was named after him, and has been designated as a Phoenix Point of Pride. [8]


  1. ^ a b c d National Association of Secretaries of State Handbook. Washington, DC: National Association of Secretaries of State. 1974. p. 15 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ a b c d Sobel, Robert; Raimo, John (1978). Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978. I. Westport, CT: Meckler Books. p. 60. ISBN  978-0-9304-6600-8 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Arizona Secretaries of State Since Statehood Archived 2007-12-11 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Gov. Bolin Dead". Tucson Citizen. Tucson, AZ. March 4, 1878. p. 1 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ "Heart Attack Claimed Bolin". Arizona Daily Sun. Flagstaff, AZ. Associated Press. March 5, 1978. p. 10 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ "Bolin's Ashes Scattered". Tucson Citizen. Tucson, AZ. Associated Press. March 11, 1878. p. 2 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ a b c Sweitzer, Paul (March 5, 1978). "Flagstaff's Bruce Babbit Becomes Governor Following Bolin's Death". Arizona Daily Sun. Flagstaff, AZ. p. 1 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ "Phoenix Points of Pride". Archived from the original on October 1, 2006. Retrieved October 18, 2006.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Curtis Williams
Secretary of State of Arizona
January 3, 1949 – October 20, 1977
Succeeded by
Rose Perica Mofford
Preceded by
Raúl H. Castro
Governor of Arizona
October 20, 1977 – March 4, 1978
Succeeded by
Bruce Babbitt