Any conversation with Nancy Landon Kassebaum inevitably leads to politics.
Kassebaum, who lives at Burdick, was immersed in politics her whole life. Her father, Alf Landon, was elected Kansas governor in 1932, the same year that she was born. She was four years old when the Republican party nominated him for president. He lost the election to Franklin D. Roosevelt.
“Dad never had any desire to run again,” Kassebaum said. “He was extremely content with his oil interests and radio stations.”
Nevertheless, politics always dominated conversations around the dinner table. If anyone missed dinner, they missed out, she said.
The family lived on the edge of Topeka. Kassebaum said she and her siblings lived a carefree life.
“It was a different time,” she said. “You were expected to be home for dinner, but you could spend all day out on the sand bar. Our father never talked about what we should or shouldn’t do. We just knew it.”
Landon played bridge with a group of men for years. He also enjoyed walking and riding horseback.
Kassebaum remembered debating with her father when she ran for political office in 1978.
“Dad didn’t want me to run for the Senate,” she recalled. “I think he thought I would lose. Mother didn’t care about politics, but she said, ‘Go ahead.’”
Kassebaum was elected and served for 18 years.
She and her father, who died in 1987 at 100, will be inducted into the Kansas Walk of Honor at 10 a.m. Friday at the state capitol. Their bronze plaques will join 14 other notable Kansans.
The walk was established by Kansas Historical Society in 2011 to highlight people who contributed on a state and national level and have significant connections to Kansas.
Previous honorees are Clyde Cessna, Walter Chrysler, Samuel Crumbine, John Steuart Curry, Charles Curtis, Bob Dole, Amelia Earhart, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Fred Harvey, Jack Kilby, Joseph McCoy, Karl Menninger, Gordon Parks, and William Allen White.
Dole and Kassebaum are the only living members of that group.