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Flags lowered to mark death of former governor

Gov. Mark Parkinson has directed flags across Kansas to fly at half-staff until sundown Nov. 14 to mark the death of former Kansas Gov. William H. Avery.

Avery died Wednesday at 98.

“Gov. Avery led our state during a time of tragic loss and national attention; Kansas honors his long life and service to our state. Our thoughts and prayers are with his children and family,” Parkinson said.

Avery’s services are expected to be held Nov. 14 in Wakefield.

Avery was born on Aug. 11, 1911, near Wakefield in Clay County. After attending Wakefield High School, he graduated from the University of Kansas in 1934. He returned to farming and ranching in Wakefield and married Hazel Bowles in 1940. He has four children.

A Republican, Avery was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives in 1950 and served to 1955. In 1954, he campaigned for the Republican nomination for the U. S. House of Representatives on an “anti-big-dam” platform, opposing the Tuttle Creek Dam project on the Blue River. He won both the nomination and election, beginning a congressional career which would span the next 10 years.

In 1964, Avery left the U. S. House and was elected 37th governor of Kansas. He served one term as governor, losing a re-election bid to Robert Docking in 1966. In 1968, he was an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination to the U. S. Senate.

Avery returned to private life and settled in Wichita. He was with Garvey Enterprises (1967 to 1968), the Clinton Oil Co. (1969 to 1971), and later served as president of the Real Oil Company.

For more information, visit the William H. Avery Papers Collection.