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Philip Matthew "Phil" Donnelly Passes Away

Today in Masonic History Philip Matthew "Phil" Donnelly passed away in 1961.

Philip Matthew "Phil" Donnelly was an American politician.

Donnelly was born on March 6th, 1891 in Lebanon, Missouri. He graduated from Lebanon High School in 1909 and went on to St. Louis University where he recieved his law degree in 1913. He passed the bar and moved back to Lebanon where he opened a private practice.

Shortly after entering private practice, Donnelly became interested in politics. His first elected office was that of Lebanon City Attorney. Shortly after he was elected to one term as the Laclede County prosecutor. In 1922 he entered state politics when he was elected to the Missouri State House of Representatives for one term. In 1924, he was elected to the Missouri State Senate where he served twenty years.

In 1944, Donnelly successfully ran for Governor of Missouri. Duing his first term he oversaw the implementation of the new Missouri state Constitution, as well as the creation of the Missouri Department of Revenue. Possibly more significantly he welcomed Winston Churchill to Missouri when Churchill visited Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. Chruchill was there to give a speech of great signifcance which is now called the "Iron Curtain Speech." In the speech Churchill used phrases that instantly entered the lexicon in the United States and Western Europe. Some Russian historians attribute the begining of the Cold War to Chruchill's speech.

Missouri law did not allow someone to serve two consecutive terms, so Donnelly had to wait a term before running again in 1952, a race he won easily. After leaving the Governor's office a second time, Donnelly returned to private practice.

Donnelly passed away on Septemeber 12th, 1961.

Donnelly was a member of Laclede Lodge No. 83 in Lebanon, Missouri. He was also a member of Lebanon Chapter No. 64, Royal Arch Masons, Zabud Council No. 25, Royal & Select Masters and Lebanon Commandery No. 33, Knights Templar. He was also reportedly a member of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite.