- Policy & Research
- About KHI
May 29, 2012
TOPEKA A public celebration of Rep. Bob Bethell’s life will be held at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday on the south steps of the Statehouse.
“This is very impromptu,” said Mary Koles, one of the event’s organizers. “A lot of us have wonderful memories of Bob, and this will let those of us who weren’t able to able to go to the funeral to pay our respects.”
Bethell, a Republican from Alden, died May 20 in a one-car crash on Interstate 70. He was 69.
Rep. Tom Sloan, a Lawrence Republican who shared an office with Bethell for several years, is expected to address the gathering.
Koles was Sloan’s secretary for the past three years.
“Everybody who’s involved in this had the utmost respect for Bob,” she said, noting that Bethell’s former secretaries, Shirley McCollum, Judy Holliday and Renae Hansen, also helped organize the celebration.
Bethell’s widow, Lorene, will attend the ceremony with her daughter and grandchildren.
Friends and colleagues are asked to bring bells to be rung in Bethell’s honor.
First elected in 1998, Bethell was respected by colleagues in both parties for his knowledge on health, aging and long-term care issues. He chaired the House Social Services Budget Committee in 2007 and 2008.
In 2009, he was named chair of a then-new House Aging and Long-term Care Committee, a position he held through this legislative session. He also served on the House Health and Human Services Committee and the Joint Committee on Home and Community Based Services.
Lorene Bethell has agreed to serve the remainder of her husband’s term through the end of this year. She will not run for the seat.
“If I thought I could halfway do him justice, I would,” she told KHI News Service. “But that’s not me.”
Bob Bethell represented the 113th District, which includes much of western Reno County, eastern Barton County and all of Rice County.
The KHI News Service is an editorially independent initiative of the Kansas Health Institute and is committed to timely, objective and in-depth coverage of health issues and the policy making environment. Find more about the News Service at khi.org/newsservice or contact us at (785) 783-2529.