William Spry was the third governor of the State of Utah, serving from January 4, 1909, to January 1, 1917. He was Chair of the National Governors Association from August 24, 1915, to December 14, 1916.
During his term, he refused a request from U.S. President Woodrow Wilson to reconsider the impending execution of Joe Hill (who was convicted of murder in a controversial trial) and allowed the execution to take place on November 19.
Spry was elected county collector in Tooele County, Utah, in 1894. In 1902 he was elected to the Utah House of Representatives. In 1905, he was appointed as one of the members of the Utah State Board of Land commissioners. He continued his public service as United States Marshal for the District of Utah from 1906 to 1908. From 1921 to 1929 Spry served as commissioner of Public Lands of the United States General Land Office.
The William Spry Agriculture Building, that houses the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, is named in his honor.
Spry was born on January 11, 1864, at Windsor, Berkshire, England. He came to Utah Territory with his parents when he was eleven years old. He was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served a mission to the Southern States Mission in 1885. He served as president of that mission from 1888 to 1891. He briefly returned to Salt Lake City in 1890 to marry Mary Alice Wrathall. He was the father of three children.
He died on April 21, 1929.