I was born in Washington in 1932 and lived here all my life except for four years in college at the University of Utah and two years in the U.S. Navy. I grew up hearing about J. Edgar Hoover and the G. Men.
In 1939, my dad bought his first Cadillac and as a little boy I would travel with him to the Cadillac dealer to have his car serviced. I remember seeing Hoover’s limousine in the garage. While I looked inside, I saw machine guns fastened to the back of the front seat – very cool view for a six-year-old.
Dad knew Hoover somewhat, but was a good friend of Sam Cowley with whom we attended church. Sam was the FBI agent who was killed in a shoot-out with Baby Face Nelsen, a notorious gangster in the 30’s. Cowley was able to kill Baby Face in the shoot out. When my dad passed away, there was a letter in his old file from Hoover, who wrote my dad that Sam Cowley was the bravest man he ever met.
Hoover and our family shared the same doctor and I was able to meet him one day in the doctor’s office. I was in my 30’s and J. Edgar was very friendly and warm to this young man.
When we assumed the management of the Mayflower hotel in Washington, the staff was anxious to show me the booth where J. Edgar Hoover had lunch every day when he was in town.
Throughout my young life in Washington, J. Edgar Hoover was a powerful force. Many Presidents came and went, but Hoover stayed on and seemed to be invincible and able to survive each and every new President. He was quite a man.
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I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.