Former U.S. Sen Dewey Bartlett, who helped shape American energy Policy before retiring from the Senate in January, died at his home here tonight after a long bout with cancer.He was 59.
His son, Dewey Bartlett Jr., said the former senator died in his sleep at 10:45 p.m. Beside his son, Bartlett's wife, Ann; and his daughter, Joan, were at his bedside.
Bartlett, a Republican, was elected to the Senate in 1972. He had been elected governor of Oklahoma in 1966, only the second Republican to hold that office.
Bartlett, had been in poor health since January 1977 when he underwent surgery at Sloan-Kettering Memorial Cancer Center in New York for removal of a tumor from his right lung and cancerous lymph nodes from his chest.
Six months later, he said he was optimistic of recovery and planned to announce for reelection to the Senate in January 1978.
But on June 23 new lesions, also cancerous, were removed from the same right lung, and pathology reports indicated evidence of lesions in his left lung.
That was followed by more radiation and chemotherapy treatment that weakened him physically, and he announced he would forego a reelction bid to devote full time "to fighting my personal health battle."
Bartlett's four-year term as governor was marked by frequent skirmishes with the Democratic legislature.
In 1970, he suffered his first political defeat, at the hands of Democrat David Hall, who put down Bartletths reelection effort by 2,000 votes.
As a Senator, Bartlett repeatedly fought for deregulation of oil and natural gas prices as the way to solve the energy shortage. He proudly referred to a party survey that ranked his voting record among the most conservative in the Senate.