Egan, William A.

Alternative names
Birth 1914-10-08
Death 1984-05-06

Biographical notes:

  • 1914: Born on October 8 in Valdez, Alaska, to Cora Allen Egan and William E. Egan.
  • 1921: Father killed in a snowslide. Mother raised the family of eight children.
  • 1932: Graduated from Valdez High School.
  • 1932 - 1943 : Held various jobs, including cannery laborer, truckdriver, bartender, gold miner, fisherman, aviator, and retail clerk.
  • 1937: Elected to Valdez City Council.
  • 1940: Married Neva McKrittick on November 16. Elected to the Alaska Territorial House of Representatives from the Third Judicial Division.
  • 1941: Wrote and introduced the first bill for a territorial referendum on statehood for Alaska. Daughter Elin Carol born in December, but died at the age of seven months following a brief illness.
  • 1943: Reelected to the Territorial House of Representatives.
  • 1943 - 1946 : Served for three years in the U.S. Army Infantry and Air Corps, Ladd Field, Fairbanks, Alaska.
  • 1946: Elected mayor of Valdez while still serving in the military. Did not know that his name had been placed on the ballot.
  • 1946 - 1956 : Owned and operated the Valdez Supply Company, a general merchandise store.
  • 1947: Reelected to the Territorial House of Representatives. Son Dennis born in Juneau.
  • 1949: Reelected to the Territorial House of Representatives.
  • 1951: Reelected to the Territorial House of Representatives. Elected speaker of the House of Representatives.
  • 1953: Elected to the Territorial Senate.
  • 1955 - 1956 : Reelected to the Territorial Senate. Served as a delegate to and president of the Alaska Constitutional Convention, which convened November 8, 1955.
  • 1956 - 1958 : Elected as one of Alaska's Tennessee Plan senators. Lived in Washington, D.C., and lobbied for Alaska statehood until the passage of the Alaska Statehood Act, June 30, 1958.
  • 1958: Elected governor of Alaska by an overwhelming margin.
  • 1959: Inaugurated in January as the first elected governor of Alaska. Hospitalized in Seattle immediately after the inauguration for surgery and recuperation until June 1959.
  • 1960: Elected vice-chairman of the Western Governors' Conference.
  • 1961: Elected chairman of the Western Governors' Conference.
  • 1962: Reelected governor of Alaska.
  • 1966: Defeated in bid for reelection by Walter Hickel.
  • 1966 - 1967 : Sales representative, Equitable Life Insurance Company, Anchorage.
  • 1967 - 1969 : President, West Coast Mortgage and Investment Company, Inc. and Security Income Corporation, Seattle.
  • 1970: Elected governor of Alaska for the third time.
  • 1971: Named Alaskan of the Year.
  • 1972: Awarded an honorary LL.D., University of Alaska.
  • 1974: Defeated by Jay Hammond in a reelection bid for his fourth term.
  • 1984: Died May 6.

From the guide to the William A. Egan Papers, 1940-1984, (University of Alaska Fairbanks Alaska Polar Regions Collections & Archives)


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