Henry Bellmon

Biography

Henry Louis Bellmon was a member of the Oklahoma legislature, the 18th and 23rd Governor of Oklahoma (the first Republican to hold that office) and a two term United States Senator. He was a lieutenant in the United States Marine Corp and was a tank platoon leader in the Pacific Theater of World War II. For his service he was awarded the Legion of Merit and a Silver Star. During his service in the United States Senate he opposed a constitutional amendment to prohibit forced busing for the purpose of racially desegregating public schools, and he supported the Panama Canal treaty. In his second term as Oklahoma Governor he worked to pass an educational reform package, HB 1017. He was known for taking moderate positions that put him at odds with the largely conservative Oklahoma Republican Party. In January 1991 Henry Bellmon retired from political life and returned to his cattle and wheat operation near Billings, Oklahoma.

This interview was conducted April 14, 2009 at Mr. Bellmon’s ranch home. He was 88 years old when he died September 29, 2009.