A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Walter ‘Dee’ Huddleston, former U.S. Senator, dies at age 92 at son’s home in Warsaw

Staff report

Former Kentucky U.S. Senator Walter ‘Dee’ Huddleston has died at age 92 at his son’s home in Warsaw.

Huddleston, a Democrat, began two decades in politics in 1965 in the Kentucky Senate and ran Wendell Ford’s successful campaign for Governor in 1971. He subsequently ran for John Sherman Cooper’s vacated but long-held U.S. Senate seat and won handily. But he lost the seat to Mitch McConnell in 1984.

Walter ‘Dee’ Huddleston

He grew up in Cumberland County, one of nine children of William F. and Lottie B. Huddleston. His father was a Methodist minister.

He served in WWII, got a degree in radio arts from the University of Kentucky and went to work at a Bowling Green radio station. Later he moved to Elizabethtown where he became part owner of a radio station there and in Lebanon.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) released the following statement:

“I want to offer my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Senator Walter ‘Dee’ Huddleston. As a member of the Greatest Generation, Dee proudly served Kentucky and our nation: first in the United States Army, next in Frankfort, and then in the U.S. Senate. With a serious approach to the issues and a constant support for our agriculture, Dee earned the respect of his colleagues and Kentuckians throughout the Commonwealth.

“When we each had the opportunity to share our visions for Kentucky’s future in 1984, I experienced Dee’s tenacity, competitiveness, and skill firsthand. He was a tough competitor, and I always respected him for his service to our home state. Elaine and I were saddened to hear of Dee’s passing, and I hope that the memories of his life will bring comfort to those who knew him in this time of grief.”

A funeral date has not been set but it will take place in Elizabethtown.

He is survived by his sons, Stephen and Philip and two granddaughters. His wife of 55 years, Jean Pierce Huddleston, preceded him in death.

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