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William Henry Avery

<em><b>Born</b> August 11, 1911 - <b>Died</b> November 4, 2009</em>

William Henry Avery was an American politician.

Avery was born near Wakefield, Kansas on August 11th, 1911. He attended the University of Kansas. Avery's parents were farmers, and both had graduated college. After graduation, in 1934, he returned home to take over the family farm.

Avery made his political fortunes after returning home due to the Tuttle Creek Dam. The dam was meant to make a reservoir for future water shortages. Flooding in the area of Tuttle Creek was more of a concern though for residents in the area. He became an outspoken critic of the dam locally, particularly after the 1935 flood which destroyed much of the area around Tuttle Creek.

Seeing what Avery was able to do locally, he was encouraged to run for State Legislature as a Republican. He informed those seeking his candidacy he wasn't running if he had to participate in a primary. Avery's district was in the top three, possibly the top, Republican county in Kansas, so they were quickly able to promise him no primary.

Avery began serving in the Kansas House of Representatives starting in 1951 until 1955. In 1955 he began serving in the United States House of Representatives until 1965. While in the Congress the issue of the Tuttle Creek Dam came up again, Harry Truman had taken it out of the budget during his time as President. Dwight D. Eisenhower put it back and Avery fought to have it removed from the budget unsuccessfully.

In 1965, Avery was elected Governor of Kansas. He served only one term. Ironically what he saw as his biggest achievement, the improvement of the education system in Kansas by increased revenues from taxes, was what lost him his re-election in his heavily Republican state.

After leaving the Governor's office, Avery tried to return to the United States Congress, losing to future presidential candidate Robert Dole.

On November 4th, 2009 Avery passed away. At the time of his passing he was the second oldest living Governor of any state.

Avery was a member of Wakefield Lodge No. 396 in Wakefield, Kansas.