Former Congressman, Bill Roy dies at 88

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Dr. William Roy, a Democratic member of Congress from 1971 to 1975 who ran twice for the U.S. Senate, has died at the age of 88.

Roy’s son, Bill Roy Jr., told The Topeka Capital-Journal ( ) that his father had surgery at the Mayo Clinic but died early Monday. In one of his April columns for the Capital-Journal, Roy discussed his health and the procedure he was to receive for congenital heart disease.

“I may have a few more years of quality life. Or, I may go down as another example of futile spending trying to save old folks in the last six months of life.”

Services were pending Tuesday at Penwell-Gabel Funeral Homes in Topeka.

Roy served two terms in the House of Representatives before running unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate against Sen. Bob Dole in 1974 and against Nancy Kassebaum in 1978. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1976 and 1984 and also served on the Kansas Board of Regents.

“Bill Roy had so many friends on both sides of the aisle — Republican and Democrat,” said Topeka attorney Dan Lykins, a longtime friend. “Bill was always a public servant. He loved being a doctor, but he loved being a Congressman, too. He was a man who did so much for not only the people of Kansas, but the nation.”

Roy was married in 1947 to Jane Twining Osterhoudt whom he met while at Illinois Wesleyan University. They had six children and 10 grandchildren. She died in 2010.

He earned his medical degree from Northwestern Medical School in Chicago and came to Topeka in 1953 where he served as military physician at Forbes Air Force Base. Roy began practicing medicine in Topeka in 1955 and continued until 1989.

“He delivered more than 8,000 babies,” his son Bill Roy Jr. said, adding that his father took an interest in health care issues while in Congress.

After retirement he began writing columns for the Capital-Journal in 1989.

“Bill Roy was one of the few liberal voices on our opinion page,” said Fred Johnson, The Capital-Journal’s opinion page editor. “His background in medicine and law always led readers to respect his opinion, although they may not have agreed with his politics. His next column was to have run June 2. He was a regular columnist for decades, and I’m sure he will be missed by his loyal readers. We will miss him, too.”

Gov. Sam Brownback and the Kansas Democratic Party issued statements Monday praising Roy’s service to the state.


Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal,


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