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William Henry Avery

Politician. Republican. Born: August 11, 1911, Wakefield. Served in U.S. House of Representatives, 1st and 2nd Districts: January 3, 1955, to January 3, 1965. Served as 37th Governor of Kansas: January 11, 1965, to January 9, 1967. Died: November 4, 2009, Wakefield.

William AveryWilliam H. Avery was born in Wakefield, Clay County, Kansas, on August 11, 1911, and graduated from University of Kansas at Lawrence in 1934. He married Hazel Bowles on June 15, 1940. They had two sons and two daughters.

He engaged in business as a farmer and stockman near Wakefield, was director of the Wakefield Rural High School Board of Education, served two terms in the Kansas state house of representatives (1951-1955), and was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1954. After a decade on Capitol Hill (served, January 3, 1955-January 3, 1965), Avery chose to return to Kansas and run for governor. He won the Republican primary and general election in 1964, but the incumbent governor was defeated in his bid for reelection in 1966 by Robert Docking. (See also a finding aid.)

He served on the Kansas Historical Foundation Board of Directors.

Avery died in Wakefield on November 4, 2009, at the age of 98, the second oldest living governor of any state at the time.

Entry: Avery, William Henry

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: June 2011

Date Modified: October 2016

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.