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Event will Honor Rep. Bob Bethell, Display K-14 Sign in His Name

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STERLING, Kan. –  A gathering to honor the late state Rep. Bob Bethell – who represented Rice County and parts of Reno and Barton counties – will be held Saturday, July 1, in Sterling.

The ceremony will include one of the new K-14 memorial interchange signs in his name. The signs will be installed at the new K-14 interchange outside Sterling.

The gathering, which will be open to the public, will be from 2 to 4 p.m. on July 1. It will take place at Studio 96, 121 S. Broadway, in Sterling.

Bethell, R-Alden, represented Kansas House District 113 from 1999 to 2012, when he passed away in a crash on I-70 as he was driving home after the Legislature adjourned. He was 69.

“He was a jack of all trades and master of most,” said his wife, Lorene Bethell. “He loved working for the people of Kansas, and he stated, ‘This was the best job I’ve ever had and the most fun,’” she said of his legislative work. She described him as an advocate for the developmentally disabled and for long-term care issues. A Republican, “He had friends on both sides of the aisle,” she said.

He was a Baptist minister, having officiated at a number of weddings and funerals for local residents. He had been Alden’s mayor. Before becoming a legislator, he had been a nursing home administrator and a junior high school principal before that.

He collected antique cars, antique clocks and watches — and Mickey Mouse paraphernalia.

“He was known in the Statehouse for wearing Mickey Mouse ties,” his wife said, “and many wore Mickey Mouse ties to his funeral.”