Charles Thone, Former Nebraska Governor and Congressman, Dies at 94.

Charles Thone, former Nebraska governor and congressman, died Wednesday at the age of 94. Born in Harrington, Nebraska on January 4, 1924, Thone graduated Harrington High School in 1940 and went on to serve three and a half years in the Army during World War II.

After his time in the war, he graduated from the UNL College of Law in 1950.  From 1954 to 1970, he was the Administrative Assistant to US Senator Roman Hruska. In 1971, Thone joined Hruska in Congress as a member of the House of Representatives, representing Nebraska’s 1st congressional district.

One of Thone’s most notable moments in Congress came in 1977 as a member of a five-person House committee that investigated the assassination of John F. Kennedy and re-examined the conclusions of the 1964 Warren Commission. He earned praise from CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite as the “conscience of the committee” for insisting on open meetings. Ultimately the committee concluded that there was no conspiracy involved in Kennedy’s assassination.

In 1960, he led presidential write-in campaign for Richard Nixon in Nebraska. The campaign netted 74,000 write-in votes for Nixon, attracting national attention. Nebraska remained a Nixon stronghold, twice giving him his highest vote percentage in presidential elections. Thone did not stay with Nixon until the end, however, and announced that he would vote to impeach him for his role in the Watergate scandal.

Thone left Congress and immediately entered the Nebraska governor’s mansion in 1979, going to sleep a Congressman January 3 and waking up the 34th governor of Nebraska January 4. He was the first US governor to endorse Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential candidacy. However, Thone was not governor long. He was defeated by Bob Kerrey in 1982 and left office in 1983.

As with all Nebraska governors, Thone’s administrative files and papers are included in our government records collection.

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

You May Also Enjoy

Recent Archeological Work at Ft. Atkinson

Recent Archeological Work at Ft. Atkinson

Willie Nelson FarmAid Concert

Willie Nelson FarmAid Concert

Marker Monday: Nehawka Flint Quarries

Marker Monday: Nehawka Flint Quarries

About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.
Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.