Timeline

1922: Born in Avon on July 19.

1925: After three years in Canada, the McGovern family moves to Mitchell.

1940: Graduates from Mitchell High School, where he was a champion debater.

Enrolls in Dakota Wesleyan University, in Mitchell.

1941: Begins dating his future wife, Woonsocket native Eleanor Stegeberg, whom he met when she and her twin sister defeated him and his partner in a high school debate.

Enlists in the U.S. Army Air Force, but his service is delayed as the air corps needed to get organized.

1943: McGovern and a partner win a national debate tournament at North Dakota State University.

Called up for service and later commissioned as a second lieutenant.

Oct. 31: Marries Eleanor.

1944: Serves in Italy during World War II, flying bomber missions over Nazi-controlled territory.

1945: Daughter Ann is born.

Flies the last of 35 missions and then volunteers for flights to deliver food to starving Europeans.

Leaves Army Air Force as a first lieutenant.

Re-enrolls at DWU.

1946: Graduates from DWU.

Enters a divinity studies program in Illinois.

Daughter Susan is born.

1949: Earns master’s in history from Northwestern University after having left divinity program.

Takes job as professor of history and political science at DWU.

Daughter Teresa is born.

1952: Writes seven articles for The Daily Republic on the differences between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.

Son Steven is born.

1953: Earns doctorate from Northwestern.

Resigns from DWU to take post as executive secretary of the South Dakota Democratic Party.

1955: Daughter Mary is born.

1956: Elected to the U.S. House representing South Dakota’s First Congressional District, defeating Rep. Harold Lovre.

1958: Re-elected to the House, defeating Gov. Joe Foss.

1960: Loses U.S. Senate race to Karl Mundt.

1961: Takes post as director of Food for Peace in Kennedy administration.

1962: Elected to Senate, defeating Joe Bottum.

1963: Makes speech on Senate floor expressing concern about growing U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

1968: In the wake of the assassination of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, makes late run for the Democratic presidential nomination. Finishes third at convention.

Re-elected to the Senate, defeating former governor Archie Gubbrud.

1969: Calls for ceasefire in Vietnam and for American troops to return home.

1970: Becomes more outspoken against the war. “This chamber reeks of blood,” he says in a speech on Senate floor.

1972: Runs for and wins the Democratic nomination for president.

Loses landslide election to President Richard Nixon.

1974: Elected to third term in the Senate, defeating Medal of Honor winner and former POW Leo Thorsness.

1976: Considers presidential run but sits race out. Quietly votes for Republican President Gerald Ford.

1980: Defeated in bid for fourth Senate term, losing to Rep. Jim Abdnor.

1984: Runs for Democratic nomination for president, dropping out after New Hampshire primary.

Hosts “Saturday Night Live.”

1992: Considers one last run for presidency but chooses not to do so.

1994: Daughter Teresa dies after passing out in snowbank in Wisconsin. McGovern later writes book on her struggles with alcohol.

1998: Is named United States ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture, serving in Rome.

2001: Named first UN global ambassador on world hunger by the World Food Programme.

2006: The George and Eleanor McGovern Library and Center for Leadership and Public Service is dedicated at DWU.

2007: Eleanor McGovern dies.

2010: Jumps out of airplane to mark 88th birthday.

2011: Drives race car to celebrate 89th birthday.

Publishes latest book, “What it Means to be a Democrat.”

2012: Dies Oct. 21 of a combination of medical conditions associated with his age. He was 90.