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Richard Celeste

Richard "Dick" Celeste
64th Governor of Ohio
In office
January 10, 1983 – January 14, 1991
Lieutenant Myrl Shoemaker (1983-1985)
Vacant (1985-1987)
Paul Leonard (1987-1991)
Preceded by Jim Rhodes
Succeeded by George Voinovich
9th Director of the Peace Corps
In office
President Jimmy Carter
Preceded by Carolyn R. Payton
Succeeded by Loret Miller Ruppe
55th Lieutenant Governor of Ohio
In office
January 11, 1975 – January 1979
Governor Jim Rhodes
Preceded by John W. Brown
Succeeded by George Voinovich
19th United States Ambassador to India
In office
November 10, 1998 – April 25, 2001
President Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Preceded by Frank G. Wisner
Succeeded by Robert Blackwill
Member of the Ohio House of Representatives
from the 5th district
In office
January 3, 1971-December 31, 1974
Preceded by Mark C. Schinnerer
Succeeded by Francine Panehal
Personal details
Born (1937-11-11) November 11, 1937 (age 76)
Cleveland, Ohio
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Dagmar Braun Celeste
Jacqueline Lundquist
Children 7
Profession Teacher, public servant
Religion Methodist

Richard Frank "Dick" Celeste (born November 11, 1937) is an American politician from Ohio, and a member of the Democratic Party. He served as the 64th Governor of Ohio from 1983 to 1991.

Early life and career

Celeste was born in Cleveland, Ohio and grew up in Lakewood, Ohio, graduating from Lakewood High School in 1955. In 1959 he was graduated magna cum laude from Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut), where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Celeste then received a Rhodes Scholarship to attend Exeter College at Oxford University (Oxford, England),[1] where he is an Honorary Fellow.[2] There he met Dagmar Ingrid Braun, whom he married in Austria in 1962. After returning to the United States, Celeste served as staff liaison office in the Peace Corps and as special assistant to Chester Bowles, then United States Ambassador to India.

Celeste was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives from Cuyahoga County in 1970. His Ohio House District included western Cleveland and Lakewood, where his father Frank, had once served as mayor. He was subsequently elected the 55th Lieutenant Governor in 1974 (defeating Republican John W. Brown, serving under the Republican James A. Rhodes—at the time, Ohio's lieutenant governor was elected separately from the governor, so the victors could be of different parties). In 1978, Celeste ran for governor, but lost to incumbent Rhodes. President Carter appointed Celeste Director of the Peace Corps from 1979 to 1981, where he was responsible for programs in 53 countries.

Governor of Ohio

In 1982, Celeste defeated Attorney general William J. Brown and former Cincinnati Mayor Jerry Springer in the primary,[3] and then the Republican candidate Clarence J. "Bud" Brown Jr., to become governor of Ohio. It was the first time in Ohio history that a person with the surname Brown ever lost an election except for once when both candidates' last name was Brown. In 1986, Celeste was re-elected, defeating the Republican candidate, former governor James Rhodes who had served four prior terms (1962–70 and 1974–82). Thus Celeste served as governor of Ohio from 1983 to 1991. In 1988 he served as the Chairman of the Midwestern Governors Association.

As governor, Celeste increased support for human services, mental health & addiction recovery services, funding for education and children services including providing onsite daycare for state employees. Before the Celeste era, Ohio ranked near the bottom among states in funding for these programs. Celeste and the Democratic-controlled legislature increased the state income tax by approximately 40% while also retaining a temporary tax of 50% instituted by the Republican predecessors. Celeste is noted for opening many government positions to African Americans and women—he hired more women to cabinet positions than all previous governors combined. Celeste also allowed state employee unions to negotiate wages and benefits, rather than just working conditions. At the end of his last term he commuted several Ohio prisoners death sentences to life terms. Among them was Debra Brown's along with the sentences of most battered women serving sentences at Marysville state prison for killing their aggressors. He also commuted Donald Lee Maurer to life in prison. Maurer had been convicted of raping and killing his 8 year old Massillon neighbor Dawn Marie Hendershot in the early 1980s.

Under the Celestes, the Governor's art exhibits, chamber music concerts and First Lady's spiritual retreats and theology gatherings as well as Christmas and Hannukah parties for neighborhood kids became regular seasonal events. The Residence Gardens, especially the rose garden, one of the oldest in the nation, were reconstituted and The Friends of the Residence were formed, with Les Wexner as their first president, to help raise private funds to defray the cost of those improvements.

Later career

Celeste then established the consulting firm Celeste & Sabety Ltd. in Columbus. After he served as the director of the DNC's healthcare campaign in 1993, President Clinton appointed him as United States Ambassador to India, a position he served in from 1997 to 2001.

His brother, Theodore S. Celeste, successfully ran as a Democratic Party candidate for the Ohio House in 2006.

Celeste was inaugurated as the 12th President of

Celeste had six children (now grown) with his first wife, Dagmar. The couple divorced in 1995. Celeste is currently married to Jacqueline Lundquist. Celeste and Lundquist have one child, Samuel.

Richard Celeste has since retired as President of The Colorado College in Colorado Springs, CO. He started serving as President in 2002, and was replaced in July 2011 by Jill Tiefenthaler, provost and economics professor at Wake Forest University.[6]

See also


External links

  • Template:Ohio History Central
  • Notable Names Database

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