Former Florida Gov. Wayne Mixson, whose three-day term was shortest in state history, died Wednesday. He was 98.
Mixson took over the top spot on Jan. 3, 1987, when Gov. Bob Graham resigned early to be sworn into the U.S. Senate. Mixson died at his home in Tallahassee surrounded by his wife, Margie, and loved ones, according to a statement issued by his family.
The two-term lieutenant governor said his three days as governor were “fully packed.” A conservative Democrat, Mixson made close to 200 appointments before Republican Bob Martinez was sworn in as governor.
He and his wife stayed all three nights in the governor’s mansion and had the governor’s staff over for a party on the first night.
“We had a full Cabinet meeting on (that) Monday,” Mixson said in a 2007 interview with The Associated Press. “We tried to tie all the knots together.”
He was later persuaded by longtime legislative historian Allen Morris to have his portrait hung alongside Florida’s other governors at the Capitol.
“He came to my office and said ‘I hear you’re not going to have a portrait made.’” Mixson recounted. ”‘You were not acting governor, (but) constitutionally the same governor as anybody else in Florida.’”
Mixson was born June 16, 1922, on his family’s farm near New Brockton, Alabama, just north of the Florida border, and joined the Navy during World War II, serving as a blimp anti-submarine observer.
After the war, he attended Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania before graduating from the University of Florida in 1947 with a business degree.
“I mourn the loss of Wayne Mixson, a WWII veteran who served as Lt. Governor and Governor of Florida & was appointed U.S. Ambassador under President Jimmy Carter,” Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Twitter. “We extend our condolences to his family as our state and country celebrate his legacy.”
Brent Kallestad, a long-time and now retired writer for The Associated Press, was the principal writer of this obituary.