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Frank Carlson; Served Kansas as Senator, Governor

May 31, 1987|Associated Press

CONCORDIA, Kan. — Former U.S. Sen. Frank Carlson, whose 40-year political career also included terms as Kansas governor and as a congressman, died Saturday. He was 94.

Carlson, the only Kansas politician to hold all three offices, died at St. Joseph's Hospital in Concordia at 6:30 a.m., a family member said. He had been hospitalized in poor health for a long time.

Carlson, a Republican, was the epitome of the grass-roots politician, a homespun farmer whose unassuming style and close rapport with his constituents carried him to 13 election victories in 13 tries from 1928 to 1962.

He twice was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives, six times to the U.S. House of Representatives, twice to the governorship and three times to the U.S. Senate. He retired from politics as an undefeated champion in January, 1969, after deciding not to seek a fourth six-year term in the Senate.

"Another giant in Kansas politics is gone," Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) said in a statement. "Frank Carlson was a friend, an adviser and a role model. He wrote the book when it came to class."

After retirement from politics, Carlson and his wife, Alice, whom he married in 1919, went home to the family farm near Concordia. He could be seen for more than a decade after leaving office driving a tractor, plowing a field or baling hay.

Mrs. Carlson died last May at the age of 91. The couple is survived by one daughter and a foster son. Funeral services were pending.

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