> Sunday, March 4, 2001
> Ex-Ohio Gov. James Rhodes, 91, Dies
> COLUMBUS, Ohio--Former Gov. James A. Rhodes, whose decision to quell
> an anti-war protest by sending National Guard troops to Kent State
> University in 1970 led to four student deaths, died Sunday. He was 91.
> Rhodes, the state's only four-term governor, died at 2:45 p.m. at Ohio
> State University Medical Center from complications from an infection
> and heart failure, said David Crawford, a hospital spokesman.
> The son of a coal miner, Rhodes rose from poverty to become Columbus
> mayor when he was 33. The election marked the beginning of a political
> career that spanned nearly 50 years.
> Rhodes was credited with bringing many industries to Ohio. During his
> administrations, the state built highways, expanded the university
> system and put an airport in almost every county.
> A college dropout, he also was credited with making Ohio a leader in
> vocational education.
> But the Kent State shootings cast an indelible shadow on his career.
> On May 2, 1970, he decided to send the National Guard to Kent State,
> which, like campuses across the nation, was in turmoil over the
> incursion into Cambodia during the Vietnam War. Protesters had
> vandalized businesses in downtown Kent and the campus ROTC building
> was burned.
> On May 4, four students died and nine were wounded when troops opened
> fire. The reason behind the shootings was never fully learned.
> Lawsuits against Rhodes and other officials ended in January 1979,
> when the victims' families agreed to settlements totaling $675,000.
> Those close to him said he was saddened by the tragedy but blamed the
> turbulence of the war era and believed his action was necessary.
> Already that year there had been three riots on Ohio campuses.
> "The Kent State call came from the merchants and county commissioners
> because of the conditions that were existing the night before," Rhodes
> said years later. "You see, it was a consensus."
> In 1999, Rhodes still believed the protesters were misguided: "It was
> people who thought something was wrong with America."
> When he ran in the GOP Senate primary on May 5, 1970 -the day after
> the Kent State shootings -he lost to Robert Taft Jr., the father of
> current Gov. Bob Taft -by 6,000 votes out of about 900,000 cast.
> He made a comeback in 1974, narrowly defeating Democratic Gov. John
> Gilligan. He served two more terms, then tried another comeback in
> 1986, but lost.
> In later years, Rhodes was an Ohio presidential campaign adviser to
> Ronald Reagan and the elder George Bush, who said he helped them carry
> the state.
> Rhodes' wife, Helen, died in 1987. He is survived by two daughters.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon Mar 05 2001 - 18:47:45 EST