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Kenneth S. Wherry

Kenneth Spicer Wherry was born in Liberty, Gage County, Nebraska, on February 28, 1892. He was graduated from Pawnee City High School and then, in 1914, from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. He attended Harvard University in 1915-16.

During WWI, he served in the United States Navy Flying Corps in 1917-18, after which he engaged in the sale of automobiles, implements, and furniture and in livestock farming. He studied law and was admitted to the bar. He practiced law in Pawnee City and was a member of the Pawnee City Council in 1927 and 1929. Wherry served as mayor of Pawnee City from 1929 to 1931 and again in 1938 to 1943. He served in the Nebraska Senate from 1929 to 1932 and was unsuccessful for his bid for the governorship in 1933. He was also unsuccessful as a candidate for nomination for U.S. Senator in 1935.

He served as Republican State chairman from 1939-1942 and was the western director for the Republican National Committee in Twenty-two States west of the Mississippi River in 1941 and 1942. In 1942, Wherry was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate. He was re-elected in 1948 and served from January 3, 1943 until his death. He was the Republican Senate whip from 1944 to 1948 and the Republican floor leader from 1949-1951.

Wherry became quite a force on the Senate floor.  His voting record would indicate that he was very isolationist and anti-New Deal.  A 1946 bio revealed:

"... his manner is described as blunt, direct, often heated; his speech, as loud, rapid and emphatic; and he has never felt the awe which usually hampers first-term senators ... recently the Capitol Hill secretaries, polled on their favorite congressmen, voted him the jolliest senator."

He served as president of the Pawnee County Agricultural Society from 1927 to 1944.

In 1951, Senator Wherry became ill and underwent surgery. He did not recover and died in Washington, D.C., on November 29, 1951 and is buried in the Pawnee City cemetery.

 


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