Richard Walker Bolling
|Chair of the House Rules Committee|
January 3, 1979 - January 3, 1983
|James J. Delaney|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Missouri's 5th district
January 3, 1949 - January 3, 1983
|Albert L. Reeves, Jr.|
|Born||May 17, 1916|
New York City
|Died||April 21, 1991 (aged 74)|
|Alma mater||University of the South|
Richard Walker Bolling (May 17, 1916 - April 21, 1991) was a prominent American Democratic Congressman from Kansas City, Missouri, and Missouri's 5th congressional district from 1949 to 1983. He retired after serving for four years as the chairman of the powerful United States House Committee on Rules.
Born in New York City as the great-great-grandson of John Williams Walker and great-great-nephew of Percy Walker, he attended Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, New Hampshire. At the age of fifteen, upon his father's death, he returned to the family home in Huntsville, Alabama. He then attended the University of the South, in Sewanee, Tennessee, where he studied literature and French, earning a B.A. in 1937 and an M.A., 1939. He went on to further graduate studies, at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1939-1940.
An educational administrator by profession, Bolling taught at Sewanee Military Academy in 1938 and 1939, and then served as assistant to the head of the Department of Education at Florence State Teachers College, in Alabama, in 1940.
In April 1941, Bolling entered the United States Army as a private and served until discharged as a lieutenant colonel in July 1946, with four years' overseas service as assistant to the chief of staff to General Douglas MacArthur in Australia, New Guinea, Philippines, and in Japan. He was awarded the Legion of Merit and Bronze Star. He served as veterans' adviser at the University of Kansas City in 1946 and 1947.
Bolling was elected as a Democrat to the Eighty-first Congress in 1948 and to the sixteen succeeding Congresses, serving from January 3, 1949 until January 3, 1983. In Congress, he served as chairman of the Select Committee on Committees of the House (in the Ninety-third Congress), Joint Economic Committee (in the Ninety-fifth Congress); and the Committee on Rules (in the Ninety-sixth and Ninety-seventh Congresses). He introduced the discharge petition that released the Civil Rights Act of 1964 from the Senate's committees chaired by southern Democrats, a vital step to passing the act. He was twice a candidate for House Majority leader, losing to Carl Albert in 1961 and to Jim Wright (by three votes) in 1977.
Bolling did not sign the 1956 Southern Manifesto, and voted in favor of the Civil Rights Acts of 1957,1960,1964, and 1968, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but voted present on the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Due to heart disease, in 1981 he announced his retirement and was not a candidate for reelection in 1982 to the Ninety-eighth Congress. In 1983, Bolling was elected to the Common Cause National Governing Board. He remained a resident of Washington, D.C., until his death there on April 21, 1991.
Bolling resided in Washington, D.C., and maintained a summer home at Portage Point, Michigan. During the 1970s, Congressman Bolling owned a cottage on St. Barthelemy in the French West Indies, which he also rented to other vacationers.
On June 7, 1945, Bolling married Barbara Stratton, the sister of the author and OSS agent Arthur Stratton. They had one daughter, Andrea Walker Bolling. He subsequently married Jim Grant Akin, White House liaison to the U.S. Department of Health Education and Welfare, who served as his legislative affairs assistant. Following her death in 1978, psychologist Dr. Prudie Luther Orr and he were married in Memphis, Tenn. Spouse At the time of his death was Nona Herndon, of Dallas.