Former Kansas State senator Robert Joseph Dole passed away Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021. Dole lived an extraordinary life, serving his country as a veteran, attorney and political figure. Dole was born and raised in Russell, Kansas. He was said to be passionate about his state and always saw himself pursuing a career where he could help people.
After serving in the United States Army during WWII, Dole began his legal career. He graduated from Washburn University in 1952 with an undergraduate and law degree before becoming a Russell County attorney. In 1960, he won the House of Representatives election and in 1968 was elected to the senate. He became chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1971 to 1973 and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee from 1981 to 1985. Dole would go on to be the Senate Majority Leader.
Dole was an avid supporter of the second amendment and was an outspoken advocate for the disabled throughout his career. Dole himself was severely injured during WWII and never regained full use of his right arm. Because of this life-changing experience, Dole was one of the major voices in support of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities.
Dole passed away from stage 4 lung cancer that he had been battling since February of this year. He is survived by his wife Elizabeth Dole, former senator of North Carolina, and his daughter from his first marriage, Robin Dole.
Dole’s public viewing was held at St. Mary Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Russell, Kansas before his body was transported to Topeka to lie in repose at the Kansas State Capitol. Dole was then flown to the U.S. Capitol in Washington where he remained until his national memorial service Friday, Dec. 10.
It has always been a tradition that citizens that have served their country in politics or other important positions are honored by being placed in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda where they lie in state. President Biden spoke at the memorial service, paying tribute to the former majority leader by praising his past work for the American people. The memorial service was live-streamed to the public. Dole was finally laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery following the memorial service.
Edited by Kyle Manthe and Simran Shrestha