John Henry Stelle

John Henry Stelle

John Henry Stelle

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John Henry Stelle (August 10, 1891 in McLeansboro, Illinois – July 5, 1962 in St. Louis, Missouri) was a U.S. political figure. He served as the 34th Lieutenant Governor of Illinois for more than three and a half years in 1937-1940, and served as the 29th Governor of Illinois for three months in 1940-1941 upon the death of Governor Henry Horner in October 1940.


He attended Western Military Academy, and earned a law degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 1916. Stelle was a lifelong Democrat who served in World War I in the U.S. Army. He was a delegate to most of the Democratic National Conventions from 1928 to 1960. Stelle's first statewide office was as Treasurer, from 1935-1937. From there, he moved into the spot of lieutenant governor in 1937, keeping that job until Horner's death almost four years later. As Horner's three-month successor, Stelle served the second-shortest period in offiice in Illinois gubernatorial history (after William Lee D. Ewing).

Following his service as governor, John Stelle retuirned to the private sector. There, he helped advocate for the design and passage of the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, better known as the G.I. Bill of Rights. According to his citation in the James Bryant Conant Award, "Stelle, a World War I veteran and past national commander of the American Legion, quarterbacked a team of Legion officials that, in the space of just six months, designed and put forth the main features of the GI...
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