William S. Beardsley, Governor

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William Shane "Bill" Beardsley

Death: November 21, 1954 (53)
Immediate Family:

Son of William Beardsley and Carrie Shane
Husband of Charlotte Ellen Manning

Managed by: Private User
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Immediate Family

About William S. Beardsley, Governor


William Shane "Bill" Beardsley (May 13, 1901 – November 21, 1954) was the 31st Governor of Iowa from 1949 to 1954.


Beardsley was born in Beacon, Iowa and grew up in Birmingham, Iowa. The son of a pharmacist, he attended pharmacy school himself, and established a drugstore in New Virginia, Iowa in 1922. He was elected to the Iowa Senate in 1932, and served there until 1938. From 1938 to 1946, he raised cattle and hogs on his farm in New Virginia. He was appointed to the Iowa House of Representatives in 1946 to fill the term of a Representative who had died, and became a prominent opponent of the labor and education policies of fellow Republican Robert D. Blue. In June 1948, he successfully challenged Blue in the Republican primary, and went on to an easy victory in the general election.

Beardsley was known for his advocacy of a balanced state budget, and his opposition to the Truman administration's Brannan Plan. He was reelected in 1950 and 1952, but chose not to run for a fourth term in 1954. During his tenure the following notable accomplishements were achieved: workmen's compensation benefits were increased; the highway patrol was expanded; anti-gambling laws were sanctioned; roads, schools, and institutions were all advanced; and a World War II veteran's bonus was authorized.

On November 21, 1954, Beardsley was killed in a highway accident just north of Des Moines while returning from a visit to his son, Dan Beardsley, a student at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. He is interred at the New Virginia cemetery in New Virginia, Iowa.

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