Former Sen. Bob Dole died on Sunday. He was a Kansas lawmaker as well as a highly decorated war veteran of World War II. He was 98 years old. He stood for both presidency and vice presidency but never managed to win. He had a long stint as Republican Majority and Minority Leader depending on whether the GOP was in power in the White House or not.
Statement by President George W. Bush on Senator Robert J. Dole
“I will always remember Bob’s salute to my late dad at the Capitol, and now we Bushes salute Bob and give thanks for his life of principled service.”
On Sunday, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation posted on Twitter that they announced with heavy hearts that Senator Robert Joseph Dole had died early in the morning in his sleep. The tweet said that he was 98 and “had served the United States of America faithfully for 79 years.”
He was full of humorous quips and once described his military career saying, “I was a boy from the plains of Kansas, so they sent me to the Alps.” Unfortunately he was severely injured in the war. After he returned from the war he had to give up his passion to be a surgeon and instead was treated by surgeons in hospitals. However, he studied law and was successful in his professional life.
He entered Congress in 1961 as a member of the House of Representatives. He entered the Senate in 1968 and was a staunch supporter of Richard Nixon. He tried for presidency three times and finally was the GOP nominee the third time but Democrat Bill Clinton won the electoral college votes with a handsome majority in November 1996.
Some of Bob Dole’s greatest achievements include the following:
He received two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star with a “V” for valor.
He served continuously in the Senate from 1968 to 1996.
He was Chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1971 to 1973.
He was the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee from 1981 to 1985.
He led the Republicans from 1985 to 1996 and was the Senate Majority Leader, twice.
After leaving office, he joined a law firm in Washington DC. He gave speeches, wrote books and appeared in advertisements. He was the chair for fund raising efforts for the National World War II Memorial. In 2003, he founded the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics. The focus of the organization is to create bipartisanship in politics.
He was born in Russell, Kansas on July 22, 1923. His father Doran Ray ran a small creamery and his mother Bina sold sewing machines. He had three siblings: a brother, Kenny and two sister, Gloria and Norma. In 1972, he divorced his first wife, Phyllis Holden. They had a daughter Robin, who was born in 1954. In 1975, he married Elizabeth Hanford.
Bob Dole said that his greatest achievement was facilitating the passage of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, in a 2005 interview conducted by Caring magazine. When he was asked how he would liked to be remembered he said, “As somebody who had a sense of humor, who got along well with people and who kept his word.”