ROBERT F. BENNETT was born in Johnson County, Kansas, on May 23, 1927. He attended the University of Kansas, earning a bachelor's degree in 1950 and a law degree in 1952. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps in China during World War II, then was wounded in Korea, receiving the Purple Heart. His public offices included council member for the City of Prairie Village from 1955 to 1957; mayor of Prairie Village from 1957 to 1965; state senator from 1965 to 1974; president of the senate from 1973 to 1974. He was elected Governor of Kansas in 1974 and served one term. During his tenure, he reformed the way the governor's office operates to make the heads of state agencies more responsible to the governor. Renowned for his command of the English language, Governor Bennett was president of the Kansas League of Municipalities and served on the National Governors' Conference Executive Committee. He also chaired the Republican Governors Association and the National Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect of the Education Commission of the States. He died of lung cancer on October 9, 2000.