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Herb Dodd remembered for his love of family

There were few things Herbert Kenneth Dodd enjoyed more than family.

The prominent Wichita attorney and World War II veteran doted on his children and grandchildren — and even doted on his friends' children, particularly as they grew up and became local celebrities.

"Herb Dodd has known me all my life. He seemed to delight in telling people he changed my diapers when I was a baby," said Wichita Eagle columnist Bonnie Bing. "He was the nicest, most joyful man. And he always did things for the community. He and his wife, Alice, were at the root of many good things going on in Wichita."

Mr. Dodd died July 24 at his home. He was 86.

A memorial service is at 10 a.m. Friday at the First United Methodist Church at 330 N. Broadway.

He was born Dec. 4, 1923, in Milfay, Okla. During World War II, Mr. Dodd enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was stationed in the South Pacific. While there, he suffered numerous ear infections, which eventually caused a degenerative hearing loss that affected him the rest of his life.

Following the war, Mr. Dodd moved to Wichita, where he met and married his wife, Alice Classen of Newton.

He received his bachelor's degree in math in 1952 from University of Wichita. In 1953, the couple moved to Topeka so he could attend law school. He graduated from Washburn University School of Law in 1956.

The Dodds then returned to Wichita, where he practiced law and became a 55-year member of the Kansas Bar Association.

The Dodds also became active in the local Republican party, serving as precinct committeeman and woman. They bought a plane, became pilots, and used the plane to shuttle political candidates around the state on campaigns, said the Dodds' son Kenny.

In one campaign for former U.S. Senator Bob Dole, Mr. Dodd "actively campaigned putting up signs with a 17-year-old teenager, Dan Glickman, then a young Republican," Kenny Dodd said.

In the late 1950s, Mr. Dodd became the first president of Civic Progress Inc. The organization had two goals: to bring civility to the Wichita City Commission and develop a project that would unite Wichita.

Nicknamed "Tuesday Night Fights," Wichita's City Commission meetings had gained notoriety throughout the nation for their colorful political bashing. The highlight came April 1, 1958, when City Commissioner A.E. Howse was knocked off his chair by Commissioner John Stevens. The fight put Wichita on the front page of many newspapers.

Dodd led Civic Progress in developing the idea for Century II and the downtown public library.

Mr. Dodd was also a board member and lay leader of First United Methodist Church. He served several missions in Africa, Europe, India, China, Alaska and Central America.

"He had a hard work ethic that always evolved around his family," Kenny Dodd said.

Mr. Dodd's wife, Alice, died in 2007.

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