Robert Taft, Jr.

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Robert Taft, Jr.
United States Senator
from Ohio
In office
January 3, 1971 – December 28, 1976
Preceded by Stephen M. Young
Succeeded by Howard Metzenbaum
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 1st district
In office
January 3, 1967 – January 3, 1971
Preceded by John J. Gilligan
Succeeded by William J. Keating
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's at-large district
In office
January 3, 1963 – January 3, 1965
Preceded by seat established
Succeeded by Robert E. Sweeney
Personal details
Born Robert Alphonso Taft, Jr.
(1917-02-26)February 26, 1917
Cincinnati, Ohio
Died December 7, 1993(1993-12-07) (aged 76)
Cincinnati, Ohio
Nationality American
Spouse(s) Blanca Duncan Noel
Katherine Longworth Whittaker, Joan McKelvy

Robert Alphonso Taft Jr. (February 26, 1917 – December 7, 1993) was a member of the Taft political family who served as a Republican Congressman from Ohio between 1963 and 1965, as well as between 1967 and 1971. He also served as a U.S. Senator between 1971 and 1976.

Taft attended Yale University and Harvard Law School. At Yale he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. During World War II, Taft served as an officer in the United States Navy from 1942 to 1946. After law school, Taft joined the Cincinnati law firm, Taft, Stettinius, and Hollister, which had been founded by his father. Taft served in the Ohio House of Representatives from 1955-1962 until winning election to the United States House of Representatives. Taft won election to the United States House of Representatives in 1962 as an at-large representative from Ohio (at-large seats were barred by the Voting Rights Act).

In 1964, rather than running for re-election to the House, he ran for the U.S. Senate, but he lost to Stephen M. Young. In 1966, Taft returned to the House of Representatives, unseating Democratic incumbent (and future Governor of Ohio) John J. Gilligan. In 1968, Taft won re-election, defeating Democrat Carl F. Heiser. Taft then won Young's U.S. Senate seat six years after losing to him when Young did not run for re-election, running against Howard Metzenbaum. Taft, however, lost six years later in a rematch against Metzenbaum. He resigned six days before the end of his term to resume the practice of law.

On November 29, 1993, Taft suffered a stroke and fell into a coma. He never woke from the coma and died on December 7, 1993.


Robert Jr. was a great-grandson of Secretary of War Alphonso Taft, grandson of President William Howard Taft and First Lady Helen Louise "Nellie" Herron as well as Lloyd Wheaton Bowers and Louisa Bennett Wilson. He was the second son of Senator Robert Alphonso Taft, Sr. (1889-1953) and Martha Wheaton Bowers (1889-1958). In 1939 Robert Jr. married Blanca Duncan Noel (1917-1968), daughter of Lewis W. Noel and Natalie Duncan. They were the parents of Ohio Governor Robert Alphonso "Bob" Taft III, Sarah Butler Taft, Deborah Taft, and Jonathan Duncan Taft. After Blanca's death, Robert Jr. remarried to Katherine Longworth Whittaker, widow of his distant cousin David Gibson Taft. They divorced in 1977. In October, 1978, he married the former Joan McKelvy, also of Cincinnati. Joan died on January 16, 2015.[1]


  1. "Joan Taft". Chicago Tribune. January 18, 2015. Retrieved August 18, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>