George Wilcken Romney
Governor - State of Michigan
1962 - 1969
George Romney, the 23rd governor of the State of Michigan, always exhibited that special quality that is reserved for but a few, of being larger than life itself. Perhaps it was because he was uniquely honest and refused to compromise his integrity for the sake of his own personal benefit, a rarity in the shabby world of politics. Romney left a rich legacy of leadership, public service and volunteerism while displaying the highest standards of character during a decade when moral debauchery and lax responsibilities were the norm. Romney cast a long shadow over the State of Michigan which can still be seen today.
1927 – (Above) Nineteen-year-old George Romney preaching the Mormon gospel in Trafalgar Square, London. Required by his Mormon faith to commit to an overseas mission, Romney was sent to Britain where he preached from city to city, including the notorious slums of Glasgow. Here he witnessed firsthand the unmistakable dearth of poverty which wrenched men’s spirits from their souls until only a faithless desperation remained. His missionary service left him with a lifelong concern for the spiritual and physical welfare of the downtrodden in society.
(Right) Romney while on mission in Glasgow in full Scottish regalia, posing for a postcard to send home to his parents.
Romney took over the fledgling
American Motors Corporation in 1953 when it was hemorrhaging over $5 million a year. His insistence on building a compact car was bold indeed for the ‘50s when gas was a quarter and guzzlers were in vogue.
Within five years AMC was $20 million in the black. The smashing success of the Rambler sent the Big Three reeling and Romney to the Michigan Governor’s mansion.
When Romney broke into the auto industry it came with no shortage of mentors. Here an elderly Henry Ford chats with friend Barney Oldfield as the youngsters, Henry Ford II and Romney listen in.
Fellow governor and Republican comrade Ronald Reagan demonstrates for Romney the finer points of tossing and catching jellybeans.
1965 - George Romney greets LBJ, Lady Bird and VP Hubert Humphrey on inauguration day.
Romney’s ‘68 run for the
nomination against Nixon ran aground when both Reagan and Nelson Rockefeller threw their hats in the ring. While Romney was the front runner in the early polls, the combination of the three proved too much to overcome and Romney withdrew his nomination.
"Unless God-fearing men and women get into public life to do a job for the people, they will leave the field to the self-servers, the demagogues, the power hungry and the cheap connivers and the people will suffer as a result."