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   Published in Topeka Capital-Journal 1/16/2008

Grave marker (front and obverse) for :Les Droge in the Friedens United Church of Christ Cemetery, Bern ,Kansas

(Photos courtesy of Paula Segrest, click to enlarge)

Leslie A. Droge retired Kansas Senator, 90, of Seneca, died Monday evening, January 14, 2008 at his home.

Les was born August 3, 1917, at rural Nashau, Montana, the son of Henry A. and Gertrude Berdau Droge. When he was 6 weeks old, the family came home to the Droge homestead north of Seneca. He attended the Allison School and then DuBois High School for three years. He graduated from Seneca Public High School in 1936.

Les worked on his Uncle Albert Droge's farm during the summer, and then in December 1936 he joined the CCC Camp in Seneca. In the fall of 1937, he enrolled at K-State. While at K-State Les played basketball, just as he had at Seneca High School and at the CCC Camp.

In May of 1941, he graduated from K-State, and in June, he entered the US Army, and served in the 82nd Airborne. He was stationed in the Philippines in 1945, with the 511th Parachute Regiment, and from an adjacent ship in Tokyo's Harbor, he observed the signing of the Armistice on the Battleship Missouri. After his discharge in 1947, he returned to the farm at rural Seneca. He remained in the US Army Reserves with a rank of Lt. Colonel upon his retired.

In 1963, he ran for the Kansas Senate serving from 1964-1976, all the while continuing to farm. He served as Chairman of the Senate's Ag Committee and was Chairman for the Senate Military Affairs Committee.

While attending K-State he met his wife, Lola F. Hubbard; they were married on January 26, 1941 at Leota, KS. The couple enjoyed 66 years of marriage. Survivors besides his wife, Lola, of the home; are his three sons, Dennis and wife Karen of Seneca, Douglas and wife Cindy of Montgomery, TX, and Duane and wife Bobbie of Eureka, KS; two daughters, Joann and husband Warren Freeborn of Concordia, KS and Beverly Droge of Ozawkie; 12 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren. Four brothers, Arden and wife Bessie of Seneca, Charles of Snohomish, WA, Harry and wife Norma of Council Grove and John of Waldorf, MD also survive him. Three brothers, Clarence, Emil, and Leonard and three sisters, Helen Rhodes, Margaret Kirk, and Eleanor Duello preceded him in death.

Funeral services will be Saturday morning, January 19, 2008 at 11 am at Friedens Church of rural Bern; Military Honors and pallbearers will be provided by the Army, Navy and Airforce and National Guard; he will be in state at the church at 9:30 that morning. A private family inurnment will be in the church cemetery, at a later date.


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