Sen. Robert J. Dole

22 July 1923–5 December 2021


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Former Sen. Bob Dole

Born and raised in Russell, Kansas, Robert Joseph Dole (22 July 1923-5 December 2021) established a legal career after distinctive service in the U.S. Army during World War II. In 1942, he joined the Army’s Enlisted Reserve Corps and became a second lieutenant in the 10th Mountain Division. He was seriously wounded in April 1945 when a German shell struck his upper back and right arm, shattering his collarbone and part of his spine.

Bob Dole

In 1950, Dole ran for political office for the first time and was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives, where he served a two-year term. In 1968, Dole won the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, and was reelected in 1974, 1980, 1986, and 1992 before his resignation on 11 June 1996, at which time he focused on his presidential campaign.

Despite the loss of the 1996 presidential election, Dole took advantage of numerous opportunities to engage in a career of writing, public speaking, and television appearances. He wrote several books, including a 2001 book on jokes told by U.S. presidents, titled Great Presidential Wit: A Collection of Humorous Anecdotes and Quotations, in which he ranks the presidents according to their level of humor. His 2005 autobiography, One Soldier’s Story: A Memoir, chronicles his World War II experiences and the struggle to survive his battle injuries.

Dole never shunned his disability but instead “folded it into his life” by establishing the Dole Foundation to aid the disabled, by aligning himself with the physically impaired, and by lobbying for the Americans with Disabilities Act through Congress.

After he passed, Dole lay in state at the Capitol Rotunda, where President Joseph Biden hailed Dole as a hero of democracy. “America has lost one of our greatest patriots,” said Biden. Dole’s casket arrived next in Russell, Kansas, for a memorial service, after which he lay in repose at the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka. His body then returned to Washington, and Dole was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.


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March-April 2022