Robert Taft Jr
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Robert Taft Jr
Robert Taft Jr.
United States Senator
from Ohio

January 3, 1971 - December 28, 1976
Stephen M. Young
Howard Metzenbaum
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 1st district

January 3, 1967 - January 3, 1971
John J. Gilligan
William J. Keating
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's at-large district

January 3, 1963 - January 3, 1965
seat established
Robert E. Sweeney
Member of the Ohio House of Representatives

Personal details
Robert Taft Jr.

(1917-02-26)February 26, 1917
Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
DiedDecember 7, 1993(1993-12-07) (aged 76)
Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Blanca Duncan Noel
Katherine Longworth Whittaker, Joan McKelvy
ChildrenRobert Taft III
ParentsRobert A. Taft
Martha Wheaton Bowers
Alma materYale University (BA)
Harvard Law School (LLB)

Robert Taft Jr. (February 26, 1917 - December 7, 1993) was an American politician. He was a member of the Taft political family who served as a Republican Congressman from Ohio between 1963 and 1965, as well as between 1967 and 1971. He also served as a U.S. Senator between 1971 and 1976.

Early life

Taft Jr. was born in Cincinnati, Ohio,[1] on February 26, 1917, the second of four sons born to Robert Alphonso Taft Sr. and the former Martha Wheaton Bowers.[2] Unlike his father, he did not have a middle name, although he sometimes used the same middle initial.[3][4] Robert Jr.'s paternal grandparents were President William Howard Taft and First Lady Helen Louise "Nellie" Herron while his maternal grandparents were Lloyd Wheaton Bowers (Solicitor General of the United States from 1909-1910)[5]:127 and Louisa Bennett Wilson. His older brother was William Howard Taft III, who served as Ambassador to Ireland from 1953 to 1957,[6] while his younger brothers were Lloyd Bowers Taft,[7] who worked as an investment banker in Cincinnati,[8] and Horace Dwight Taft, who became a professor of physics and dean at Yale.[9] Taft graduated from Yale University in 1939 and Harvard Law School in 1942.[1]


During World War II, Taft served as an officer in the United States Navy from 1942 to 1946. After law school, Taft joined the Cincinnati law firm, Taft, Stettinius, and Hollister, which had been founded by his father. Taft served in the Ohio House of Representatives from 1955 to 1962 until winning election to the United States House of Representatives. Taft won election to the United States House of Representatives in 1962 as an at-large representative from Ohio (at-large seats were barred by the Voting Rights Act).[10]

In 1955 he became a compatriot of the Sons of the American Revolution.

In 1964, rather than running for re-election to the House, he ran for the U.S. Senate, but he lost to Stephen M. Young. In 1966, Taft returned to the House of Representatives, unseating Democratic incumbent (and future Governor of Ohio) John J. Gilligan. In 1968, Taft won re-election, defeating Democrat Carl F. Heiser. Taft then won Young's U.S. Senate seat six years after losing to him when Young did not run for re-election, running against Howard Metzenbaum. Taft, however, lost six years later in a rematch against Metzenbaum. He resigned six days before the end of his term to resume the practice of law.[10]

Personal life

In 1939, Robert Jr. married Blanca Duncan Noel (1917-1968), daughter of Lewis W. Noel and Natalie Duncan. They were the parents of:[10]

After Blanca's death, Robert Jr. remarried to Katherine Longworth Whittaker, widow of his distant cousin David Gibson Taft. They divorced in 1977 and in October 1978, he married the former Joan McKelvy, also of Cincinnati.[12]

On November 29, 1993, Taft suffered a stroke and fell into a coma. He never woke from the coma and died on December 7, 1993.[10] Joan died on January 16, 2015.[12]


  1. ^ a b Pearson, Richard (December 8, 1993). "Robert Taft Jr. dies". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2017.
  2. ^ "Myrootsplace". Archived from the original on 2013-06-15.
  3. ^ "Robert A. Taft Jr., who did not have a middle name, was often called "Young Bob" to distinguish him from his father." Robert Taft Jr., 76, an Ex-Senator And Heir to Ohio G.O.P. Dynasty, The New York Times, 8 December 1993.
  4. ^ "The new congressman-at-large from Ohio has a one-sheet biographical record, terse and incisive. At the bottom it says: "Note: Mr. Taft does not have a middle name. Robert Taft, Jr., is correct." "FAMOUS FAMILY'S 4TH MAN IN CAPITAL". Detroit Free Press. January 24, 1963. Retrieved 2018.
  5. ^ The twelfth general catalogue of the Psi Upsilon Fraternity. 1917. Retrieved 2011.
  6. ^ "W. H. Taft 3d, 75, Ex-Envoy to Ireland And Son of Senator". The New York Times. February 26, 1991. Retrieved 2016.
  7. ^ "Myrootsplace". Archived from the original on 2013-06-15.
  8. ^ "Lloyd B. Taft Obituary". The New York Times. October 23, 1985. Retrieved .
  9. ^ Adair, Robert K.; Sandweiss, Jack; Pless, Irwin A. (August 1983). "Obituary: Horace Dwight Taft". Physics Today. 36 (8): 77. doi:10.1063/1.2915814. Archived from the original on 2013-09-29.
  10. ^ a b c d Lyons, Richard D. (8 December 1993). "Robert Taft Jr., 76, an Ex-Senator And Heir to Ohio G.O.P. Dynasty". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016.
  11. ^ "Ohio Third Frontier creates $6.6 billion in economic impact, 41,300 jobs" Archived 2013-01-28 at, Med City News, Retrieved September 21, 2009.
  12. ^ a b "Joan Taft". Chicago Tribune. January 18, 2015. Retrieved 2015.

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