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Former Senator and World War II (WWII) veteran, Robert “Bob” Joseph Dole has passed away in his sleep at the age of 98. The Elizabeth Dole Foundation and his family confirmed his death.
He was born on July 22, 1923, in Russell, Kansas. After high school, he attended the University of Kansas. Dole enjoyed playing for the basketball and football teams. He also ran track.
Later, he joined the Army and participated in WWII. He was seriously injured during the war. It took several years of rehabilitation at a military hospital for him to get back up to speed. A couple of his fellow patients — Phil Hart of Michigan and Daniel Inouye of Hawaii — later served with him in the Senate.
In 1977, he demonstrated his ability to reach across party lines when he joined liberal Democrat George McGovern to reform the federal food stamp program. After that, he chaired the Finance Committee from 1981 to 1985. Dole then served as Republican floor leader from 1985 to 1996. That is when he left office to run for President of the United States.
He returned to the Senate in 2000 to deliver a “Leader’s Lecture” to his former colleagues in the Old Senate Chamber. Dole became the eighth senator to receive the Congressional Gold Medal when it was awarded to him in 2018.
After retiring from politics, he started a new career starring in TV commercials for Visa, Viagra, and other brands. Well into his 90s he spent his Saturdays greeting veterans who flew to Washington, D.C., courtesy of a nonprofit organization — Honor Flight Network — that arranges such flights for veterans.
In February 2021, he revealed that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. He added that he had started treatment for the ailment.
Dole is survived by his wife, family, and friends. May he rest in peace.
Written by Sheena Robertson
NBC News: Bob Dole, WWII hero and former Republican presidential candidate, dies at 98; by Elizabeth Chuck and Doha Madani
Senate: Robert J. Dole: A Featured Biography
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