EUGENE O'GRADY, 84 Ex-leader of Ohio Democratic Party, was adviser to presidents, governors
The native of Cleveland is survived by 12 children.
COLUMBUS (AP) -- Former state Democratic chairman Eugene O'Grady has died of complications from anemia. He was 84.
O'Grady, a political adviser to presidents and governors, died Wednesday at Mount Carmel West hospital.
O'Grady, known as Pete, was executive director of the Ohio Democratic Party in 1966, elected chairman in 1968 and re-elected in 1970.
"He was the type of chairman who operated with a high degree of civility in this business," said Ohio Republican Chairman Robert Bennett, who knew O'Grady for 30 years.
Former Gov. John Gilligan called O'Grady the "political mastermind" responsible for getting him elected governor.
"Pete had an enormous personal knowledge of the state and there wasn't anybody who disliked him," Gilligan said. "He could get an awful lot accomplished because of it."
O'Grady persuaded fellow Democrats to back Gilligan for the 1968 nomination for the U.S. Senate against then-incumbent Frank Lausche. Gilligan defeated Lausche in the primary but lost to Republican William Saxbe.
O'Grady guided Gilligan's successful gubernatorial campaign two years later against Republican Roger Cloud. He then became director of highway safety in the Gilligan administration.
O'Grady was born in Cleveland in 1920. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps from 1942 to 1945 as a B-24 mechanic in England. He returned to Cleveland after the war and graduated from John Carroll University in 1948.
He became Northeast Ohio coordinator of Democrat Adlai Stevenson's 1952 presidential campaign, a position he held again for Stevenson in 1956 and in 1960 for John F. Kennedy.
O'Grady served as director of the Ohio Department of Commerce from 1961 to '63 in Gov. Michael DiSalle's administration. In 1964, he managed Democrat Steven Young's successful campaign for the U.S. Senate against Republican Robert Taft Jr.
O'Grady's wife of 54 years, Patricia, died in March 2003.
He is survived by his children Michael, Thomas, Francis, Mary Elizabeth Becker, Mary Jude Tyznik, Mary Anne Wemlinger, Richard Kevin, Mary Catherine, Mary Rita LaForrest, Mary Therese Davis, Mary Christine and John.
Visitation will be Sunday at St. Brendan's Catholic Church in Hilliard. A Mass will be held at the church Monday.