Judy Harbaugh, former
Dole staffer in the Nixon era.
Interviewed June 27, 1996
Growing up in Russell, I didn't really know Mr. Dole. I was much
younger and I knew his wife. My mother and father both knew them very well,
and particularly knew his parents. My father had grown up with his mother in a
little town of Bunker Hill. And I went off to teach school after college, and
had always wanted to go to Washington to work...in June of 1965 I went to work
for him in the House. Going further back a little back, a connection, when he
came home from the war and so many people reached out their hands and did so
many things for him, my father was a carpenter and he was the one who went in
to the garage and rebuilt it for the workout, the fitness center that he used
after he came back home. So there was that tie too that I have always been
FL: Describe the town. Some people say that Senator Dole has been shaped by
My life really centered around, as did all of us as we grew up, centered
around two places, the church and the school. And the activities that we had
there. And I think that was true for almost everybody in the town as you, as
they were growing up. And everybody participated in everything. All the
sports events, everybody was in band or chorus, or the various clubs. And an
interesting thing as I've gotten older, I've come to appreciate it even more, I
think that I had a fantastic education as far as just the foundation that was
laid there, and the encouragement to read books, not watch t.v. The
encouragement to be a good citizen and participate in where ever you live. And
I know that Mr. Dole to bring it back to him, had the same kind of thing,
because we had the same teachers. Even my parents who are older yet, had some
of the same teachers. I don't know if you had the opportunity to meet Alice
Mills while you were out there, but she taught all of us. And the teachers
that we had, that you know, that was like, they had nothing else to do, they
had all the time in the world for kids. And you know I can really
appreciate that as I've gotten older how much that really laid a foundation and
an eagerness in me to learn. And I know that the Senator felt the same way.
He always stayed in touch with his teachers, his coaches, who also taught me.
You know, so, it's something that went on for a long time, now that's not true
those, most of those teachers are gone now.
The Methodist church, the one that the Dole's went to, the one that I went
to, that most of my friends went to. We were taught there to practice
self-discipline. That the actions themselves spoke for themselves. You didn't
go out and brag about things, you didn't talk about things. And therefore I
think most of us had very hard, had a very hard time accepting compliments.
And it was very difficult to learn to do that. It was much easier to take
criticism than it was compliments. And that was part of that Methodism that we
all were taught. Um. The other thing was to always look out for your fellow
man. That you would be nothing if you didn't help the next person up, coming
up the ladder. And to always look back and to see who was coming behind you.
In other words, don't put yourself first. And that was a big part of the
lesson I remember. There was nothing really, it was a quiet kind of religion,
a real feeling of belonging to a group, a family. And as I say, a big part of
growing up. But not something where you were taught to wear your heart on your
sleeve or express yourself emotionally. You kept things inside. And I think I
may, basically got that from church.
I have never had a conversation strictly about religion with the
Senator. I just know that church has always been a big part of his life. That
he always went to church. He went every Sunday, many times I went with him,
and it's been a part of his life as long as I've know him. When he's here on
Sundays, he still goes to church and then goes to brunch. And that's just a
Sunday ritual. And Robin, his daughter is always included in that. So I think
it's been one of the things that's been a continuity in his life, that's been
there always, that's been a constant. With Elizabeth also being a Methodist,
you know, I think that also has provided that continuity in the religion and
I got to know Mrs. Dole very well, and in fact lived not too far from
them. And she became a very good friend. She was a most creative person, she
loved antiquing, she was very good at painting, writing, doing all kinds of
artsy craftsy, literary things. And she sewed beautifully, she would make
things for me. And then always during campaigns she would make campaign
memorabilia for everyone. And she was just a really fun person I felt to be
around, I really liked her. And spent quite a bit of time with her. So when
the marriage broke up, it was a very difficult time I think for for everybody
involved. I know when the Senator told me about it, and said he was going to
need my help, I was crushed, but I also could see the agony that he was going
through. It was a decision that he had made that I know that he had thought
long and hard about before doing it. And it was a very difficult time for me
to go through. There were only two of us who knew about it. And not having
someone to talk to about it was very hard. And spending that long a time
before it was finally over with. And I lost Mrs. Dole's friendship during that
time which bothered me greatly, and yet I understood it. That whole time
continued to be agonizing for Mr. Dole.
When he first told me about it, I was totally stunned. Mainly because,
that's another part of growing up in Russell, is that people didn't divorce.
I mean I didn't know people who were divorced. I had no friends whose parents
were divorced. . And I'm sure he didn't either. In fact I know he didn't.
Because he made a comment to me many many many months later, that he was so
surprised how many people working in Washington that he ran across would come
up to him and say, well you know I divorced back in whatever year and so and so
is my second wife or whatever. And he himself was quite shocked.
He was always very kind about the relationship and about Phyllis. He
always respected her highly, he never spoke of her with rancor, other than,
they had just basically grown apart. He loved politics, and spent all of his
time on politics, travelling working for others you know who were out there
running for office. And Mrs. Dole didn't really care that much about politics.
It wasn't a way of life that would have been her choice. She would go along to
some things, but I think that they just grew apart, you know, his interests and
her interests. Maybe, the gulf between the two just grew too deep.