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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 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 proud of.

FL: Describe the town. Some people say that Senator Dole has been shaped by it.


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 the faith.

Phyllis Dole

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.


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