Mel Carnahan is the fifth governor of Missouri to die in office. This is the first death of a Governor or former Governor since Lloyd Crow Stark died on September 17, 1972 (he served as Governor from 1937-1941) and when former governor John M. Dalton died July 7, 1972 (he served from 1961-65). All former Governors (Hearnes, Bond, Teasdale, and Ashcroft) are still living.The last time a sitting Governor died was when John Sappington Marmaduke died December 28, 1887, on the same day that the annual Christmas party for Missouri’s children was planned for the Governor’s Mansion. In 1932, the democratic candidate for Governor died three weeks before the election. The state democratic party, then dominated by Boss Tom Pendergast and his faction in Kansas City, quickly put up Guy B. Park as a replacement candidate and he won.In 1976, Congressman Jerry Litton of Chillicothe was killed on the night of the primary election, when the airplane carrying him, his wife, and two children from Chillicothe to a victory party in Kansas City crashed and burned in Chillicothe. No person survived. The Democratic Party picked former Governor Warren Hearnes to replace him in the November election. Hearnes lost to John C. Danforth.Other Governors who have died in office:Hamilton R. Gamble, who died January 31, 1864Thomas Reynolds, who committed suicide Feb. 9, 1844Frederick Bates, August 4, 1825.
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