Graeber, longtime public servant, dies at 87

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times
Clyde Graeber

Clyde Graeber, who represented the Leavenworth area in multiple positions in state and local government, died Sunday.

He was 87, according to an obituary prepared by Davis Funeral Chapel.

Graeber served as the mayor of Leavenworth and represented the area in the Kansas House of Representatives. He also served as the state treasurer and secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

He more recently served on the Leavenworth County Commission.

“I really enjoyed working with Clyde,” County Clerk Janet Klasinski said.

She said Graeber was a true gentleman who cared about each person in the county.

“He was an excellent commissioner,” County Counselor David Van Parys said.

Van Parys said he met Graeber in 1984 while a member of a Jaycees Club in Leavenworth. The junior chamber organization organized a candidate forum. Graeber was the only invited candidate who showed up for the event.

Graeber, who was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1933, came to Leavenworth in 1968 to serve as president of the Leavenworth National Bank & Trust Co. He held that position for 25 years, according to his obituary.

He married his wife, Pauline, in 1972. She survives at the home.

He was first elected to the Leavenworth City Commission in 1979. He served on the commission for about six years. For two of those years, he served in the position of mayor.

In 1984, he was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives. He served in the House for 12 years.

He was selected three times to serve as the chairman of the House Republican Caucus.

He retired from the House in 1996. That same year, he joined the administration of Gov. Bill Graves to serve as legislative liaison to the Kansas Senate.

In 1998, Graves appointed Graeber to fill the vacant position of state treasurer. He served in that capacity for one year. Graves then appointed Graeber to serve as secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Graeber served in this position for four years, according to his obituary.

Graeber was first elected to the County Commission in 2004. He was elected to a total of four terms on the County Commission. But he resigned in 2017 before completing his fourth term because of health issues.

County Commissioner Doug Smith served briefly with Graeber on the commission. Before joining the County Commission, Smith worked for the county government while Graeber was a commissioner.

“He was just a good man and very knowledgeable of county government and of course state government and everything else,” Smith said.

Mike Smith, who serves as chairman of the County Commission, said Graeber was an honorable man.

Mike Smith and Graeber did not serve together on the County Commission. But Mike Smith said he had opportunities to speak with Graeber while working in the Lansing government.

“I always enjoyed talking to him,” Mike Smith said.

Mike Smith said Graeber always tried to do what was best for everybody.

Graeber’s funeral will take place at 10 a.m. March 2 at Davis Funeral Chapel.

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