Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole makes a point during a Memorial Day speech in Clifton, Ne.....
Bob Dole, who overcame grievous World War Two combat wounds to become a pre-eminent figure in U.S. politics as a longtime Republican senator from Kansas and his party's unsuccessful 1996 presidential nominee, died December 4 at the age of 98. Dole sought the presidency three times and was the Republican Party's nominee in 1996 but lost to Democratic incumbent Bill Clinton. Dole was his party's vice presidential nominee in 1976 on a ticket headed by incumbent President Gerald Ford but they lost to Democrat Jimmy Carter and his running mate Walter Mondale.
Dole, known for referring to himself in the third person, made a classic American journey from the poverty of the Great Depression of the 1930s, through World War Two battlefields to the corridors of power with a stoic Midwestern dignity.
Robert Joseph Dole was born on July 22, 1923, one of four children of a grain elevator manager and a traveling saleswoman in Russell, Kansas.
As a U.S. Army lieutenant in World War Two, he led an assault on a German machine-gun nest in Italy. A shell wrecked his right shoulder, paralyzed his right arm, broke vertebrae, riddled his body with shrapnel and cost him a kidney. Decorated for heroism, Dole spent 39 months in hospitals before returning to civilian life.
He attended law school, unable to write but getting through with the help of his first wife, Phyllis, who transcribed class lectures he recorded. Dole had one daughter, Robin, from his first marriage.
Dole, who lost the use of his right arm from a war wound, was an advocate for the disabled and worked to shore up the finances of the Social Security retirement program. Dole was instrumental in passage of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, public accommodations and transportation.
He also was a key figure behind building a memorial honoring Americans who served in World War Two on Washington's National Mall, now a popular tourist stop. REUTERS/Jeff Christensen