James Howard Edmondson

Class of
James Howard Edmondson

James Howard Edmondson

“He was a very good friend. He was one of the truly great leaders this state has ever had. His administration was the beginning of real impressive leadership.”
George Nigh, 1971


James Howard Edmondson was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma where he attended elementary and high school. He served 2½ years in the U. S. Air Force in World War II and received a law degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1948. He practiced law in his hometown then moved to Tulsa to become Chief Prosecutor and County Attorney. After only two years in the position, he made his successful race for governor of Oklahoma (1959-1963). Edmondson’s campaign for governor was termed a “Prairie Fire” because when he entered the race, although successful and well-known in Tulsa, he was little-known statewide. Among his many accomplishments as Governor were the repeal of Oklahoma’s prohibition laws, creation of a central purchasing agency for state agencies, and a merit system for state employees. When Senator Robert S. Kerr died in 1963, Edmondson resigned as Governor to accept appointment as Senator and served the remainder of the term. He was defeated when he ran for re-election. He died, suddenly, eight short years after his election as Governor, at the age of 46.

Fun fact

In 1959, Mr. Edmondson became the youngest person ever to be elected governor of Oklahoma.

Oklahoma connections

Edmondson was born on September 27, 1925, in Muskogee, Oklahoma.




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