Archive for Thursday, February 3, 2005

Mary Grace Boone

February 3, 2005

Mary Grace Boone was a special person in Lansing history. She was born in 1897 and grew up in Lansing. She graduated from Kansas State University with a bachelor's and a master's degree. Upon graduation from KSU, she returned to Lansing, where she taught for three years. From here she taught at Delaware School and Turner High School and then returned to teach at Leavenworth Junior High School. She taught for 36 years before retiring in 1963.

Before retiring from teaching, she began taking classes in the evening at University of Missouri Kansas City to work toward a law degree. She also took summer classes at University of Kansas. She was offered the law degree from both schools but chose KU because "I'm a Kansan," she said. In June 1957, the name M.G. Boone appeared on the law office window in Leavenworth under the names of C.H. Boone, her brother, and T.W. Boone, her nephew.

I knew Grace from church. She was a pleasant, friendly person to everyone, but what I remember was how she talked to the children, asking questions and talking in a complimentary way.

When Lansing incorporated in 1959, Bob Hatfield was elected the first police judge. He was the owner of the filling station and tavern on U.S. Highway 73. The second police judge was Ralph Spain, a custodian in the school district. During the third City Council term, Jack Stewart decided to run against Mayor George Caraway and asked me if I would run for councilman again with J.M. Henchek and Wilfred Rettele.

Jack asked our opinion of Mary Grace Boone to be our police judge. We all agreed she was what Lansing needed with her law and teaching background. After the vote and final count, she became the first woman police judge in Lansing and at the time the only woman to be on the Leavenworth County Bar Association.

She had a very special way of handling cases and people. If a teenager was found guilty of speeding, she would not let the parent pay the fine. She would say, "When you earn part of the money, then bring it to court." It was usually with a smile.

She could be tough when necessary, too.

She lived 98 years at what is now 110 E. Kay St. except for the short time she lived at Colonial Manor before her death in 1995. What a great lady.


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