William Bart Saxbe, a quotable lawyer, politician, and U.S. senator from Ohio, served as U.S. attorney general under President RICHARD M. NIXON. He also served as ambassador to India under President GERALD R. FORD.
Saxbe was born on June 24, 1916, in the farming community of Mechanicsburg, Ohio, to Bart Rockwell Saxbe, a religious and plain-spoken community leader who made his living as a cattle buyer, and Faye Henry Carey Saxbe, a political free-spirit who counted PATRICK HENRY among her ancestors. Saxbe's education seemed to be influenced by his parents' example; when he entered Ohio State University in 1936, he chose political science as his major field of study. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1940. In the fall of that year, he married Ardath Louise ("Dolly") Kleinhans. They eventually had three children: William Bart Jr., Juliet Louise, and Charles Rockwell.
While attending college, Saxbe was a member of the Ohio National Guard. After college, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, serving from 1940 to 1945. Saxbe was called to serve again during the Korean conflict in the 1950s; he was discharged from the reserve with the rank of colonel in 1963.
Immediately after WORLD WAR II, Saxbe returned to Ohio with the intention of furthering his education. He gave serious thought to pursuing a career in the ministry of the Episcopal Church, but his long-standing interest in political and community service prevailed. Saxbe entered law school at Ohio State Univversity in 1945 and, simultaneously, launched a campaign to serve in the Ohio House of Representatives. He was elected and served four terms from 1947 to 1954. Saxbe completed his law degree at the end of his second term. He served
William B. Saxbe.
as House majority leader in 1951 and 1952, and as speaker of the House in 1953 and 1954.
Saxbe left the Ohio legislature at the conclusion of his fourth term. He returned to Mechanicsburg, where he raised cattle on the family farm. He also partnered with two longtime friends to establish the Columbus, Ohio, law firm of Saxbe, Boyd, and Prine. He practiced law for two years before re-entering the political arena in 1956. In 1957, he ran as the Republican candidate for state attorney general. Over the next decade, he served four terms in that state office. As attorney general, Saxbe proved to be a tough and capable crime fighter. He believed that CAPITAL PUNISHMENT was a strong...