Gordon A. Howe


Birth name Aliases
Gordon A. Howe None
Birth date Birth place
January 19, 1904 Rochester, NY
Date of death Place of death
August 26, 1989 Rochester, NY
Known for
Greece supervisor, County Manager
Insurance adjuster, politician

Gordon A. Howe was born to Frank, a fireman (one who stokes a furnace) and Agnes, a Scottish immigrant. He was elected president of his class at Charlotte High School.

At the age of 22, he was elected to the Greece town board and two years later was appointed town justice. He was elected to the position in the Fall of 1929, making him the youngest justice in the state at that time. In 1934, he lost his job at Rochester Gas & Electric, so he ran for Greece town supervisor, in whose capacity he ended up serving 14 terms. In 1948, he was elected to the County Board of Supervisors, where he served as chairman for twelve years.

In the late 1950s, he became the agreed heir apparent for the office of County Manager, contingent on the retirement of his long-serving predecessor Clarence A. Smith. State legislators from Monroe County had to intercede on his behalf to amend the state's County Manager laws to allow him to serve, because at the time, the law barred active Board members or other County elected officials from becoming County Manager. The bill, known as the "Gordon Howe Law", was signed into effect by Governor Nelson Rockefeller in April of 1959.

He presided over the building of Monroe Community College and the Civic Center Plaza, and founded the County Water Authority and Pure Waters sewer program. He centralized government by taking over health, welfare, and parks services from the towns and City. He also concurrently served as the GOP party chairman in the 1960s.

He resigned in 1971 in the midst of acrimonious wrangling over his successor, but he was still thrown a lavish 67th birthday party which included a 1000 pound cake and 1500 guests including Governor Rockefeller.

Howe is buried in Section G of Riverside Cemetery.

The "Gordon A. Howe Monroe County Office Building" bears his name.