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John Anderson, Jr.

Politician, governor. Republican. Born: May 8, 1917, Johnson County. Served as 36th Governor of Kansas: January 9, 1961, to January 11, 1965.  Died: September 15, 2014, Olathe, Kansas.

Governor John Anderson, Jr.John Anderson, Jr., was born near Olathe on May 8, 1917, and graduated from Olathe High School in 1935. He attended Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science, later renamed Kansas State University. On May 22, 1941, he married Arlene Evabelle Auchard of Lawrence, Kansas. He transferred to the University of Kansas and received a bachelor’s degree in 1943. Anderson went on to earn a law degree in 1944.

Anderson practiced law in Olathe and in 1946 was elected Johnson County attorney on the Republican ticket. He was elected to the Kansas State Senate in 1952 and was appointed attorney general in 1956. He served in that capacity until he was elected the 36th governor in 1960. He was reelected in 1962 and soon after became the first governor to live in Cedar Crest, the executive mansion. As governor, Anderson was an advocate of civil rights. He also convinced the legislature to enhance the community college system and add Wichita State University as a Board of Regents school. He pushed for school consolidation and decreased the number of school districts from more than 1,000 to approximately 300. He also supported the death penalty.

In 1965 Anderson returned to practicing law in Olathe but remained active in politics. In 1972, he unsuccessfully sought his party's nomination for governor a third time. That year, Republicans chose Morris Kay who lost in the general election to Robert Docking.

Anderson died in Olathe on September 15, 2014, at the age of 97.

Entry: Anderson, Jr., John

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: May 2018

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