Michael V. DiSalle, 73, the governor of Ohio from 1959 to 1963 and director of the Office of Price Stabilization during the Korean War, died Tuesday in a hospital in Pescara, Italy, after a heart attack.
Gov. DiSalle, who had lived and practiced law in Washington for the last 15 years, was in Pescara, a town on the shore of the Adriatic Sea about 100 miles from Rome, to visit relatives.
He was born in New York City, the son of Italian immigrants, and moved to Toledo, Ohio, at the age of three. After earning a law degree at Georgetown University in 1931, he practiced law in Toledo.
A Democrat, he won his first political campaign in 1936, when he was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives. Between 1938 and 1947, he served as Toledo's law director and was elected to five terms on the City Council and two terms as vice mayor.
He was mayor of Toledo from 1947 until 1950 when he came to Washington for a two-year stint as price stabilization administrator under President Harry Truman.
In 1952, Mr. DiSalle returned to Ohio to run for the U.S. Senate against senator John Bricker. Bricker, a beneficiary of the Eisenhower landslide in the presidential election that year, won handily. Mr. DiSalle was defeated in 1956 for his first bid for the governorship, but won that office two years later.
An early supporter of John F. Kennedy for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1960, He was one of the first governors of a large state to throw his support behind the Massachusetts senator.
Gov. DiSalle was defeated in his 1962 reelection bid after being assailed by James A. Rhodes, his Republican challenger, as "tax hike Mike" because of the tax increases he had pushed through the legislature.
Rhodes said yesterday that Gov. DiSalle was "a good friend, a noble political opponent and an excellent representative of the people of Ohio. He established a great reputation as a young mayor of Toledo and then enhanced this even further by becoming a great governor of Ohio."
Sen. John Glenn (D-Ohio) said after learning of Gov. DiSalle's death, "Mike DiSalle loved Ohio and America. It was my high privilege and honor to have worked with him and known him as a personal friend."
Since 1966, Gov. DiSalle, a short, rotund and cheerful man, had practiced law in Washington. He was a familiar figure at Washington Redskins football games and other sports events and was widely known in political circles.
He was honorary Ohio chairman of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's 1980 presidential campaign.
Gov. DiSalle's survivors include five daughters.