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November 22, 2011 at 3:58 PM

Gordon Clinton, Seattle mayor from 1956 to 1964, dies at 91

Former Seattle Mayor Gordon Clinton, who presided over the city during the 1962 World’s Fair, the construction of the monorail and the Space Needle, and helped kickoff the cleanup of Lake Washington, has died. He was 91.

Clinton, a former FBI agent, naval officer and prosecutor in King County, served as mayor from 1956 to 1964. He died Saturday, a week and a half after suffering a stroke.

“Seattle has lost one of its leaders,” Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said in a statement. “Former Mayor Gordon Clinton had a vision for our city and its future in the world.”

Born in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Clinton was a descendant of an early governor of New York. He attended Bryant Elementary School and graduated from Roosevelt High School and the University of Washington law school.

He worked for the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover in the years before World War II, and later served in the Pacific as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy.

The Republican was still in his late 30s when he ran for office and ousted an incumbent mayor, Allan Pomeroy — a feat that wouldn’t be repeated until Greg Nickels unseated Paul Schell in 2001. The fresh-faced Clinton, who didn’t drink or smoke, was known for his squeaky-clean image and ran the city during a period of relative prosperity, building a $7 million municipal building and hosting a World’s Fair without going into heavy debt.

After leaving office, Clinton returned to practicing law and would go on to represent several Asian consulates. He remained active in politics and civic organizations, and his church.

He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Florence Clinton, and three children: Barbara Clinton Tompkins, of Tucson; Gordon Stanley Clinton, Jr., of Seattle, and Deborah Clinton-Bailey, of Seattle; three grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. A memorial is scheduled for 2 p.m. Dec. 8 at Bayview Manor on Queen Anne, 11 West Aloha Street, Seattle, WA 98119-3743.

Comments | More in General news | Topics: Gordon Clinton, Space Needle, World's Fair

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