World War II veteran, Kansas Senator and Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole passed away in his sleep on Sunday. He was 98.
According to the Associated Press, Dole’s wife, Elizabeth Dole, broke the news on social media. In February of this year, Dole announced that he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.
“Senator Bob Dole has left a tremendous legacy of service and leadership as a soldier, legislator, and statesman,” Audrey Coleman, Director of the Dole Institute, wrote in a statement.
“When I knew him in the last decade of his life, Senator Dole was both a towering figure and a bridge to our nation’s past, who urged Americans to work together for a better future,” she continued. “It was an honor to serve as his archivist, and it’s a privilege to steward his historical legacy in perpetuity.”
Dole, who was born on July 22, 1923, in Russell, Kansas, began his political career after serving in World War II. According to Dole’s biography, he served in the renowned Tenth Mountain Division in February 1945. The division was tasked with dislodging German Troops in Northern Italy.
Dole was severely wounded during the war and was left paralyzed from the neck down due to two crushed vertebrae. Dole spent three years recovering in a hospital but never regained control of his right hand.
In 1960, Dole won his first congressional race representing a western Kansas House district. Over the next eight years, he developed a reputation as a staunch fiscal conservative. He also supported the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Dole would later be elected to the U.S. Senate in 1975. As a Senator, Dole supported multiple legislative measures benefiting the nation’s veterans, including the Veterans’ Benefits Improvement Act and the Veterans Health Care Administrative Flexibility Act.
He also tried running for president three times, in 1980, 1988, and 1996. He was also a vice presidential candidate to Gerald Ford in 1976, but Ford lost to Jimmy Carter.
During the 1980s and ’90s, Dole served as a committee chairman and the Senate’s majority and minority leader. He resigned in 1996 to pursue the presidency but lost to the incumbent, Bill Clinton.
Throughout his life, Dole married twice. He married his first wife, Phyllis Holden, an occupational therapist at a military hospital, in 1954. He met her while recovering from his injuries sustained during the war in 1948. The couple, who divorced in 1972, had one daughter, Robin Carol Dole.
Dole married his second wife, Elizbeth, in 1975. They first met when Elizbeth was working for President Richard Nixon. Elizabeth also served on the Federal Trade Commission and as transportation secretary and labor secretary while her late husband served in the Senate.
Dole is survived by Elizabeth, his daughter Robin, and nine nieces and nephews.
Photo courtesy: ©Brendan Hoffman/Stringer/Getty Images
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.