Senator Guy Mark Gillette View All Years

Compiled Historical Information
Date of Death: 3/3/1976
Birth Place: Cherokee, Iowa
Birth County: Cherokee
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Assemblies Served:
Senate: 35 (1913) - 36 (1915)
Home County: Cherokee
Guy Mark Gillette
Cherokee County


MR. PRESIDENT: Your Senate committee, appointed to prepare a suitable resolution commemorating the life, character and public service of the late Honorable Guy Mark Gillette, begs leave to submit the following memorial:

Guy Mark Gillette’s lifetime was one of varied pursuits. Always concerned with helping others, he was in turn a soldier, lawyer, legislator, farmer and statesman.

The son of Mark Dennis Gillette and Mary Hull, Mr. Gillette was born in Cherokee County on February 3, 1879. Mr. Gillette attended the Cherokee public schools and graduated from Cherokee High School in 1896. In 1900 he graduated from the Drake Law School and began a practice in Cherokee the following year.

Mr. Gillette’s career as a soldier began when he was 14 years old as a member of Company M, Fourth Regiment, Iowa National Guard. In 1898 he was called into federal service during the Spanish-American War and served out the emergency as a sergeant in Georgia.

The company was reactivated in 1910 under the then Captain Guy Mark Gillette. In 1917 Captain Gillette was again called in to service to head an infantry company which went overseas in 1918. When discharged in 1919, Mr. Gillette held the rank of Major.

In June of 1907 he married Rose Freeman who preceded him in death in 1956.

Mr. Gillette’s political career began in 1906 when he was elected County Attorney. Defeated for reelection in 1908, he was appointed City Attorney for Cherokee. In 1912 he was elected to the Iowa Senate from a district comprising Cherokee, Plymouth and Ida Counties, becoming the first Democratic senator from the district.

Four years later, having determined that America’s entry into the war was imminent, he announced he would not seek reelection. However, nominated on a write-in vote, he was narrowly defeated for a post he did not campaign for.

Following the First World War, Mr. Gillette farmed near Cherokee until 1932 when he was elected to the United States House of Representatives. Mr. Gillette served in that position until 1936 when he was elected to fill a vacancy to the United States Senate caused by the death of the Honorable Louis Murphy.

As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he worked to chart this nation’s conception of the United Nations and introduced the first Senate resolution calling for the creation of the international body.

In 1944 Mr. Gillette was defeated for reelection to the Senate. In the aftermath of the election, President Harry S. Truman offered Mr. Gillette a federal judgeship but Mr. Gillette refused, reasoning that he was not qualified since he had not practiced law for years.

Appointed chairman of the Surplus Property Board, Mr. Gillette served in that capacity until 1945 when he resigned to become president of the American League for a free Palestine.

In 1948, the same year the United Nations authorized the creation of Israel as a nation, Mr. Gillette was reelected to the United States Senate.

In 1954, at 75, Mr. Gillette was defeated in his bid for another Senate term. He returned to Cherokee where he became active in many local organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club, the Red Cross and the Cherokee Library Board.

On March 3, 1973, at the age of 94, Guy Mark Gillette died in his native Cherokee.

He is survived by one son, Mark, now living in Florida.

By his own estimation, Mr. Gillette’s most memorable contributions made during his public life were in helping Iowa farmers get electric power and in promoting soybeans as a new cash crop.

Therefore, Be It Resolved by the Senate of the Sixty-fifth General Assembly of Iowa: That in the passing of the Honorable Guy Mark Gilliette, Iowa has lost a dedicated statesman, and the Senate by this resolution would express its appreciation of Mr. Gillette’s services to his community, state and nation and tender is sympathy and kindest regards to his son.

Be It Further Resolved: That a copy of his resolution be spread upon the Journal of the Senate, and that the Secretary of the Senate be directed to forward an enrolled copy to his son.





The resolution was unanimously adopted.