Former Kansas Lt. Gov. Tom Docking, a member of what was once the state’s most prominent Democratic family and the son and grandson of governors, has died. He was 63.
Docking died Thursday night in Wichita after battling cancer, said A.J. Schwartz, the CEO of Docking’s law firm. Other details were not immediately available.
“He was the definition of a gentleman and a great partner,” Schwartz said Friday. “It’s a big void we have to fill on a professional and personal basis.”
Docking served as lieutenant governor from 1983 until 1987, running with Democratic Gov. John Carlin when Carlin won a second term. Carlin appointed Docking to head a commission for recommending changes in the state’s tax laws.
Docking was the Democratic nominee for governor in 1986, when Carlin was term-limited, but he lost to Republican Mike Hayden, receiving 48 percent of the vote.
His father, Robert Docking, was governor from 1967 until 1975, the only candidate to win four elections for governor when they served two-year terms. His grandfather, George Docking, held the office from 1957 until 1961 and was the first Democrat in the GOP-leaning state to win a second term as governor.
Tom Docking’s wife, Jill, a businesswoman, ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1996 and for lieutenant governor in 2014, and also served a four-year term on the Kansas Board of Regents. A brother also served on the board.