(Senate - September 19, 2016)

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[Congressional Record Volume 162, Number 141 (Monday, September 19, 2016)]
[Page S5880]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                         ADDITIONAL STATEMENTS


                         REMEMBERING BEN CRAIG

 Mr. MORAN. Mr. President, all who knew Ben Craig know that his 
passing marks the loss of an exceptional family man, local leader, and 
community banker. Ben was a great neighbor and a shining example of a 
Kansan who improved the lives of all he knew.
  The youngest of five children, Ben was born in 1929 to Benjamin D. 
Craig, Sr., and Orpha (Cox) Craig. He grew up and went to school in 
Baxter Springs, where he was an avid baseball player and sports fan. 
During high school, he was the pitcher for the Baxter Whiz Kids, the 
local regional team.
  He attended the University of Kansas, and during his college years, 
he pursued his minor league baseball dreams playing with the New York 
Yankees and the St. Louis Browns.
  After the Korean war began in 1950, Ben enlisted in the Air Force and 
spent 18 months stationed in Tripoli, Libya. Following his deployment, 
he returned to the States and was stationed at Sewart Air Force Base 
near Nashville, TN. He was joined by his new bride, Evadean Talbot, who 
he married after returning home from Tripoli. In 1954, he was honorably 
discharged from the service as an E-5 tech sergeant.
  Ben's long career in business began after leaving the Air Force when 
he took a job with the Cassville, MO, chamber of commerce. He later 
worked with the Kansas City, KS, chamber before beginning a banking 
career that would span decades. Ben served as president of Metcalf Bank 
in Kansas City for 35 years and then as chairman of the board until 
2007. When the bank was sold in 2007, Ben remained on the board of 
directors and served as chairman emeritus until his death.
  In addition to strengthening the Kansas City economy with his work in 
the banking community, where small businesses and families alike could 
depend on Ben for solid financial assistance and advice, Ben served in 
leadership positions in a number of local charities and service 
organizations. For 52 years, he had perfect attendance in the Overland 
Park Rotary Club, which is where I first met him. He also played a key 
role in establishing many of the Kansas City institutions we know 
today, such as Johnson County Community College, Shawnee Mission 
Medical Center, and the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce.
  Ben was preceded in death by his wife of 52 years, Evadean. He leaves 
behind his friend and companion of the last 10 years, Vivian Sirratt, 
along with his daughters, Denise Koonse (Charles), Kellee Hearst (Rex), 
granddaughters, Amanda Lubiewski (Michael), Kelsey Houchen (Andrew), 
and great-granddaughters, Abigail and Emily Lubiewski.
  Ben's dedication to public service and constant desire to find ways 
he could help others will benefit generations of Kansans to come. He 
had a kind heart and giving nature. Ben was a natural leader who freely 
gave his time to all he knew. I am thankful for my friendship with him. 
May he rest in peace.