(Mar. 4, 1891-Jan. 26, 1975). Attorney, businessman, and state and national Democratic leader, Frank Martin McHale was the child of Irish immigrants and a native of Logansport. He earned a law degree from the University of Michigan where he also played football. A veteran of World War I, he maintained his legal residence in Logansport but spent much of his time in Indianapolis.

Although he held no popularly elected office, McHale was a powerful figure in state and national politics for decades. From 1937-1952, he served as Democratic National Committee chairman. He organized the gubernatorial campaigns of Paul V. McNutt (early 1930s) and Roger D. Branigin (mid-1960s). During legislative sessions, McHale and McNutt’s advisors held evening meetings at the Indianapolis Athletic Club to draft legislation. McHale wrote the state’s Public Service Commission Act (1933) and the Gross Income Tax and Utility Tax Acts (both 1949).

Besides being a senior partner at the Indianapolis law firm McHale, Cook and Welch, McHale was active in banking and transportation. He founded and chaired the National Bank of Logansport, directed the Norfolk and Western Railroad Company, and co-owned and served as chairman of the board of the Southern Indiana Railway. He was also director and executive committee member of the American Fletcher Corporation.

A member of Ss. Peter And Paul Cathedral of Indianapolis, McHale ardently opposed the Ku Klux Klan. When the Klan planned a march in Logansport, McHale stood in the street with a baseball bat, forcing them to parade around him. Citing his exemplary Catholic behavior and generosity, Pope John XXIII initiated McHale as a knight in the Order of St. Gregory in 1961.

McHale served on many civic boards, including the Indianapolis Foundation. He was inducted into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame in 1974.

Revised March 2021

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