State, county mourn fallen sheriff
As it was when Rob Craft’s body was returned to Marion after his death, a large crowd of emergency responders lined streets Saturday and attended his Saturday funeral to bid him farewell.
More than a dozen fire trucks from all Marion County lined E. Denver St. at the entrance to the cemetery. Trucks from Butler, Chase, and Morris County also parked along the street.
A large flag dangled from a boom on a Hillsboro truck.
Parking lots near Marion Sports and Aquatics Center, where Craft’s memorial service was conducted, contained nearly four dozen police, sheriff’s, and Highway Patrol vehicles.
Hillsboro’s American Legion post 366 and a three-member Marine honor guard provided military honors. Patriot Riders also attended. Craft served four years in the Marine Corps.
Speakers lauded Craft’s heartfelt service to Marion County and shared memories from knowing him.
Many members of the Kansas Highway Patrol and even state attorney general Derek Schmidt paid their respects.
Craft was a trooper for 27 years, retiring in 2007 as firearms and ordinance instructor. He served 3½ terms as Marion County sheriff until his death Feb. 16.
Numerous people posted warm memories of Craft on Yazel-Megli Funeral Home’s website.
Retired game warden Marvin Peterson posted: “I first met Rob when he was with KHP. We were talking hunting, and I mentioned that my lab dog had jumped the fence to visit the neighbor’s Brittany and we had pups to give away. He came to the house and picked the biggest male and said, ‘I hope he hunts.’ Well, that dog hunted, which gave Rob and I both reason to brag on him. Later, when Rob became sheriff, we had occasion to work together several times. Rob’s door was always open, and he was an exceptional sheriff who it was a privilege to work with.”
Wichita police chief Lem Moore wrote: “Thank you Sheriff Robert Craft for your dedication and commitment to justice. There are many people whose lives are better today because of your humble service. You have been brought home to be by God’s side. Your good deeds are looked upon with great respect and honor. God be with your family.”
Janette Froelich, who worked at KHP’s Troop C office when Craft was a trooper there, described him as “one of the nicest, most caring, polite men I have ever met ... Sheriff Craft, you touched so many lives in ways you will never know.”
Trooper Gary Warner, who was trained by Craft when he was a field training officer for the Highway Patrol, wrote: “I am sure I tried his patience and was a frustration to him at times during that process! However, a testimonial to his character and genuine care for others, he never displayed the frustration openly to me. Without his guidance, I would have not successfully completed the FTO process, nor would I have been able to continue to be successful throughout my career as a Kansas state trooper. Rob, Thank You for everything!
“May you rest in peace knowing the citizens of Marion County and the state of Kansas are safer due to the incredibly positive impact that you have had on hundreds of troopers, officers and deputies throughout the state.”
Interim sheriff to be chosen
County Republican precinct committeemen and committeewomen will meet at 9 a.m. Saturday at Marion County Lake hall to nominate someone to serve as interim sheriff.
The name of the person they nominate will be sent to the governor for appointment.
A primary (if necessary) will be held in August and a general election in November will fill the last two years of Craft’s unexpired term.
Last modified March 3, 2022