John J. Gilligan

Ed. note: Tales from the Trail is a column that will take you behind the scenes of politics to see some of the funny, and sometimes outright bizarre things that happen on the campaign trail, based on Howard Wilkinson's recollections of 43 years of covering politics. 

For Ohio Gov. John J. Gilligan, the Cincinnati Democrat, 1974 was supposed to be a very good year.

He was a candidate for re-election to a second term as governor, facing the former Republican governor James A. Rhodes.

John J. “Jack” Gilligan, the former Ohio governor who passed away Monday at age 92, was many things in his long life.

An unabashed, unapologetic liberal, seemingly oblivious to whether or not it cost or gained him votes.

A war hero, earning the Silver Star while serving on board a destroyer during the battle of Okinawa.

A young man who came home from the war, worked in the family funeral business, and went on to teach literature at Xavier University before launching his career in politics.