Gregory Kent Lewis, former Kansas State Representative, died Monday, Feb. 17, 2020 at Stafford County Hospital in Stafford. The St. John farmer and rancher served in the Kansas House for three years before learning he had a brain tumor and was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.
He served the 113th House District which included all of Pratt and Stafford counties, as well as parts of Barton, Pawnee and Rice Counties. He resigned in February 2019, citing his ongoing battle with brain cancer.
In March of 2019, Alicia Straub, Ellinwood, was selected by the Republican precinct committee to fill his seat.
“I would like to express my deepest sympathy to Greg’s family and friends,” she wrote in an email to the Tribune on Thursday. “While we cannot feel their pain, we share in their loss. Greg was a generous and kind public servant. May we remember him fondly, and pray for comfort and peace for his loved ones.”
Lewis is remembered fondly by Barton County’s other statehouse representatives.
Lewis was appointed to represent Dist. 113 in 2015 after Rep. Basil Dannebohm resigned due to health issues, shortly after being elected. Lewis ran for his seat in 2018, beating out Democratic candidate David Curtis. He ran for reelection in 2016 and won. That year, Rep. Tory Arnberger, Dist. 112, Barton County, was elected for the first time, and came to know and trust Lewis during her freshman year in the House. She shared her sorrow over Lewis’s passing Wednesday morning.
“Greg Lewis always had a positive attitude at the Capitol. He put his whole heart into being a public servant,” she said. “During his resignation speech he said ‘Serve your district with a servant’s heart. This is the House of Representatives. This is not the house of self interest. This is not the house of special interest. This is the people’s House.’”
Rep. Troy Waymaster, Dist. 109, worked closely with Lewis during his time in office on many issues.
“Lewis was highly respected and highly revered by his fellow statesmen, and his passing is a loss to the area and to the state,” he said. “He was a great human being and I’m saddened that he has passed away.”
Beyond the House, Lewis’s passing is being felt by Sen. Mary Jo Taylor, Dist. 33. Taylor, also from Stafford County, is the former USD 349 Stafford Superintendent of Schools. Like Lewis, she was compelled to serve her community and her district in recent years, and came to know Lewis as well through their party affiliation and while reaching out to constituents throughout their districts at various events.
“Greg Lewis will be remembered for his strong commitment to helping others in all ways,” she said. “His compassionate leadership will be missed in his state, his community, and his church. He understood the role of a servant leader.”
UPDATE: Comments from Rep. Alicia Straub were added after this report went to print on Thursday night, so they do not appear in the print edition of Feb. 21, 2020.