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Evan Mecham
Birth: May 12, 1924
Mountain Home
Duchesne County
Utah, USA
Death: Feb. 21, 2008
Phoenix
Maricopa County
Arizona, USA

Governor of Arizona. He was born and raised in Mountain Home, Utah. An excellent student, he was the salutatorian of his 1942 high school class. He attended Utah State University until he joined the United States Army Air Corps in 1943. After pilot training he was stationed in England flying P-51 Mustangs. On March 7 1945, he was shot down and held as a Prisoner of War for 22 days. For his injuries he received the Purple Heart, an Air Medal, and a return to the United States. He and his family settled in Arizona and he enrolled in Arizona State University. Once again he dropped out, this time to start an automobile dealership. He became a millionaire as a result of his business acumen. In 1952, he was defeated for election to the Arizona House of Representatives, his first of many unsuccessful runs for public office. All his television appearances advertising his dealership gave him enough recognition to get elected to the Arizona Senate in 1960. In 1962 he ran for the United States Senate and lost. In 1986, on his fifth try, he won the Republican nomination for governor. The Democratic Party was fractured and the party split with two candidates, allowing Mecham to win with a 40% plurality. He gained national attention with his fight against the Martin Luther King holiday. He canceled the holiday Governor Bruce Babbitt had established by executive order. After 180 days in office, the earliest allowed by state law, a recall petition was begun. In January, 1986, the Secretary of State announced that the required number of signatures had been recorded and a recall election set for May 17, 1988. It was discovered in October of 1987 that he had failed to report a $350,000 loan to his election campaign. This claim was added to a grand jury investigation into allegations that he had loaned his car dealership $80,000 from public funds. The final charge against him, obstruction of justice, was for telling the Arizona Department of Public Safety not to provide evidence to the Attorney General when an appointee of Mecham's made a death threat against a government official. On January 8, 1898, the grand jury issued indictments on three counts of perjury, two counts of fraud, and one count of failing to report a campaign contribution. By a vote of 46 to 14 the House of Representatives passed House Resolution 2002 calling for his impeachment. His powers as governor was suspended and Secretary of State Rose Mofford became acting governor. The Senate began a court of impeachment on February 29 on charges of obstruction of justice, filing a false statement, and misuse of government funds. The false filing was dropped by a 21 to 9 vote. On April 4, he was convicted of obstruction of justice by a vote of 21 to 9 and misuse of government funds by a vote of 21 to 9. The Arizona Supreme Court canceled the recall election and Rose Mofford became the governor. Mecham was acquitted on all six felony charges during his criminal trial. He wasn't through with politics, however. He was an at-large delegate to the 1988 Republican National Convention. He even made another run for Governor in 1990. In 1992, he made a bid for John McCain's senate seat. Alzheimer's disease began to take effect on him and he was committed to the dementia unit of the Arizona State Veterans Home in Phoenix, Arizona where he died. (bio by: Tom Todd) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Florence Lambert Mecham (1925 - 2012)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Note: LT. U S AIR FORCE WW II POW
 
Burial:
National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona
Phoenix
Maricopa County
Arizona, USA
Plot: SEC. 53, SITE 505
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: D. & J. Altman
Record added: Feb 26, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 24896516
Evan Mecham
Added by: Anonymous
 
Evan Mecham
Added by: HJS
 
Evan Mecham
Added by: D. & J. Altman
 
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