Ralph W. Yarborough, a populist known for flamboyant...


January 28, 1996

Ralph W. Yarborough, a populist known for flamboyant oratory during his nearly 14 years in the U.S. Senate, died yesterday at his Austin, Texas, home. He was 92.

In the Senate from 1957 to 1970, when he lost a primary to Lloyd Bentsen Jr., Mr. Yarborough described himself as "teacher, lawyer, soldier, judge, United States senator." He was the only Southern senator who voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

In November 1963, Mr. Yarborough rode in the second car of the Dallas motorcade in which President John F. Kennedy was killed. Friends said Mr. Yarborough might have been riding with the president, except for a feud between him and Vice President Lyndon Johnson and then-Gov. John Connally.

"You have to have the feeling that you can accomplish something for mankind that you could not have accomplished if you hadn't gotten involved," he said before the end of his Senate career. "And I have that feeling, particularly about the legislation I have passed through Congress."

He was chairman of the Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee, sponsored a Cold War GI Bill to extend education benefits to 5 million post-World War II veterans, and pushed numerous pieces of health-care legislation.

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