Do you have information regarding this person? We'd like to hear from you. Leave feedback.
Receive an email if information is added for John Spellman.

John Dennis Spellman
Best known forGovernor

  Born12/29/1926, Seattle, King County, WA, USA
  Military ServiceU.S. Navy, World War II.
  EducationSeattle University, (Valedictorian), B.B.S. (1949) Georgetown University Law School, J.D., (1953)
  MarriagesLois Spellman 02/20/1954, Six children.
  ChildrenMargaret . Bart . David . Jeff . Teresa . Katherine .


  • Professor. Seattle University. Taught Administrative Law.
  • Attorney. Private practice. 1953-1966. Seattle.
  • Attorney. Carney, Badley, Smith and Spellman. 1985 - present. Joined the firm after serving as Governor.
  • Vice Chair. U.S. Coastal Zone Management Advisory Commission.
  • President. Puget Sound Council of Governments.
  • Vice Chair. Puget Sound Economic Development Council.
  • Member. Puget Sound Air Pollution Control Agency.
  • County Commissioner. King County, Washington. 1967 - 1969. 2 year(s). Worked to stop corruption in King County as a reformer. In 1968 voters approved the reformers' Home Rule Charter for a new King County government structure.
  • County Executive. King County, Washington. 1969 - 1981. 12 year(s). Defeated former Governor Albert Rosellini in 1969. First to serve in this position after it was created by the King County Home Rule Charter. Spellman worked to organize the new county government structure. Instrumental in the construction of the Kingdome. Passionate about land use, voters approved his Farmland Preservation bond in 1979. While county excecutive he also served as vice-president of the National Association of Counties .
  • Governor. Republican, Washington. 1981 - 1985. 4 year(s). Assumed office during the early 1980s recession. In 1982 Spellman vetoed a bill passed by the Legislature that would have allowed Chicago, Bridge and Iron to build offshore oil drilling rigs and exempt their project from the Shorelines Management Act at Cherry Point in Whatcom County. Chair of the National Governors' International Trade and Foreign Affairs Committee. Advisory board of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. Advisor to the U.S. Trade Ambassador. Board of USA Waste.
  • World Trader of the Year, The Washington World Trade Council.
  • Elected Offical of the Year, Washington Enviromental Council.
  • John D. Spellman Awards for Exemplary Achievement in Historic Preservation. King County.
Affiliations:Board Member, Camp Brotherhood
Board Member, Sierra Club of Seattle
Board Member, Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation
Board Member, Washington State Public Affairs TV Network (TVW)
Chairman, Evergreen Safety Council
Notes:Ran unsuccessfully for Governor in 1976 and lost to Dixy Lee Ray. After serving one term as Governor, lost his seat to Democrat, Booth Gardner in 1984. Ran unsuccessfully for the Washington Supreme Court in 1990.


Sources: Spellman, John D. (b. 1926).