*****Due to the Size of Funeral Expected for John, Please note that the Location of the Funeral has been Changed****
November 29, 2019 marked the Best Day of John Golden’s life as he was promoted to the Welcome Committee of the Pearly Gates of Heaven. John previously served as the Chief Ambassador to the Topside of Kansas. After a life of dedication to the great State of Kansas, John has moved from the farm team to the big league serving as God’s Top Ambassador.
John was born November 12, 1932 in Goodland, KS and was the son of Levi Dick and Margaret Lynch Golden. John graduated from Sherman County Community High School in 1950. He continued his education at the University of Kansas, graduating with a degree in Personnel Administration from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 1954. John also took advanced studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder and Mexico City University in Mexico City. He received his order to report to the United States Army and was inducted on Flag Day, June 14, 1955 where he reported to duty at Camp Carson in Colorado Springs, CO. He served in Frankfort Germany from November 1955 until he was honorably discharged on May 21, 1957.
On June 1, 1963, he and Marcia Laing were married in Topeka and they made their home in Sherman County. They were married 56 years. Surviving family includes his wife Marcia Laing Golden, daughter Margaret Golden Bowker (Jeff), daughter Gennifer Golden House and son Richard Reed Golden (Kara). Grand children include Reed Addison Bowker, Claire Golden Bowker, Elizabeth Laing House, Andrew Atchley House, Taylor Marie Golden and Lauryn Reed Golden. John was proceeded in death by his mother Margaret Lynch, father Levi Dick and son-in-law Andrew Bret House.
John was active in the Topside of Kansas. He began his public service as a Page in the 1948 Republican Convention in Philadelphia, PA where his father was elected as a delegate. John was a lifelong member of the Republican Party where he served as a catalyst and supporter of state and national initiatives. He served in the Kansas House of Representatives from 1961 – 1967. John introduced the initial legislation to allow the Board of Control of any area vocational-technical school in the State of Kansas to increase the tax levy for the benefit of a trade school. Northwest Kansas Area Vocational – Technical School was established after this bill was passed in December 1963. During his service in the House of Representatives, a proclamation was passed declaring Sherman County as the “Topside of Kansas.” John served as a Sherman County Commissioner for eight years presiding as Chairman for seven; served on the City Commission for 12 years and was honored to be Mayor of the great City of Goodland. He served as President of the Kansas League of Municipalities from 1994 to 1997. John was also on the City of Goodland’s first Planning Commission in the mid-60s and was the Northwest Kansas Planning and Development Chairman for seven years and Pioneer Country Development. His background taught him the value of transportation to haul crops from the farm to market and he was instrumental in passing the legislation of triple trailers into Kansas in 1990.
John was undisputedly the Goodwill Ambassador to Goodland and Sherman County as he welcomed neighbors near and far to the “Topside of Kansas.” John was a past member of the Goodland Area Chamber of Commerce and a founding member of the Goodland Ambassadors, which began in 1968. He was a member of Goodland Elks Lodge1528, a 55+ year member of the Goodland Masonic Lodge, and a Goodland Rotary, Paul Harris Fellow. John was a member of AA and counseled those in need for over 45 years.
John was a proud Jayhawk and the University of Kansas’ biggest promoter in Sherman County. His happy place was at a KU Football game. He was a University of Kansas Alumni Association Lifetime Member and a member of the President’s Club, a supporter of the University of Kansas Williams Fund and the Sigma Nu Fraternity. John was a walking encyclopedia, a man of facts and statistics with a brilliant mind.
As the owner and operator of Golden Wheat Ranch and Golden Farms, John engaged in farming and ranching his whole life. He was the President of KEMP Sugar Co. and Ad Astra Per Aspera, LLC. He was a strong supporter and promoter in establishing both sugar beets and the sunflower industries in Sherman County. John served as the Chairman and Founding member of the Mid-States Port Authority, which was formed in 1982 to keep the rail service from folding after the bankruptcy of the Rock Island Railroad. MSPA purchased 467.7 miles of short-line rail track from the Rock Island Bankruptcy Trust. John was named President in 1987 and continued to serve that role until his death. John has served on the Goodland State Bank / Bankwest Board of Directors since June 1960. In 1995, John was named Sherman County Agribusiness Person of the Year.
John’s faith was his guide and he was proud to be a lifetime member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Of all his professional and community service endeavors, John’s proudest moment was receiving the Bishop Service Award from the Bishop of Western Kansas at the 2016 Diocese of Western Kansas Convention.
John always promoted the Goodland neighborhood, “with its population base of just under one billion people,” and encouraged all of his “neighbors” to have the best day of their life. John’s final request to his family was to tell everyone in Northwest Kansas hello for him.