James M. Inhofe, Senator Who Denied Climate Change, Dies at 89

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James Mountain Inhofe was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on Nov. 17, 1934, the youngest of four children of Blanche (Mountain) and Perry Dyson Inhofe Sr., an insurance claims adjuster. James and his siblings, Marilyn, Joan and Perry Jr., attended public schools in Des Moines. When James was 8, his father moved the family to Tulsa, where he had been offered a position as an insurance executive.

At Tulsa Central High School, James ran on the track team and learned to fly small airplanes, which became a lifelong passion. After serving in the Army, he enrolled at the University of Tulsa, majoring in economics. Official biographies claimed that he earned a degree in 1959, but when challenged years later he acknowledged that he had been a few credits short and did not officially graduate until 1973.

In 1959, Mr. Inhofe married Kay Kirkpatrick, who survives him. His survivors also include three of their children, Molly, Jimmy and Katy, the family said. A fourth child, Perry II, died in a plane crash in 2013. .

After Perry Inhofe Sr. died in 1970, his children inherited interests in Mid-Continent Casualty, which their father had helped found. James and Perry Jr., became principals. In a stock trade in 1979, Perry Jr. acquired control of Mid-Continent and James acquired a spinoff, Quaker Life, which later failed. Lawsuits disrupted the family, and James won a $3 million settlement from Perry in 1990.

James, who became active in Oklahoma Republican politics in the mid-1960s, was a member of the State House of Representatives from 1967 to 1969 and of the State Senate from 1969 to 1977. He was a popular mayor of Tulsa, running unopposed for his second term and taking 59 percent of the votes for his third.

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