Liberal native Don Carlile died Tuesday at his home in Topeka. He was 82 and is survived by his wife, five children, 10 grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren.
Carlile was an entrepreneur and owned several businesses throughout his residency in Liberal. In 1991, he moved to Topeka when Governor Joan Finney appointed him as Director of Transportation of the Kansas Corporation Commision where he served for over seven years.
Carlile was very active with the Liberal Bee Jays semi-pro baseball team. From 1955 to 1991, he actively supported and worked tirelessly with the Liberal Bee Jays where he held numerous positions from chairman of the board to general manager. He recruited winning teams that made the BJ's one of the top semi-pro teams in the nation. In 1984, he received the Jack Carlile Director of the Year Award which was named after his father. He was an active member of the American Baseball Coaches Association for over 30 years. The National Baseball Congress award him the first Raymond "Hap" Dumont Award for an individual during the summer of 1985. In 1993, Carlile formed the Topeka Capitals wit hthe assistance of former BJ Jim Callaway, then President of Southwestern Bell. His brother Bob has been Liberal's general manager since 2008.
Don was very active in the Kansas Democratic Party. In 1961, he was President of the Kansas Young Democrat Party and was also Treasurer of the party for many years. During his active years in Kansas politics, he worked tirelessly in the successful gubernatorial campaigns of George Docking, Rober Docking, Joan Finney, and Kathleen Sebelius. Governor Robert Docking appointed Don to the Water Resources Board in 1969, where he served as a director and ultimately became chairman until 1978. During his tenure with the board, he was instrumental in the approval and construction of the Clinton Dam and Lake Project located in Lawrence, Kansas by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Don continuously championed the needs of Western Kansas' agriculture, highways, and oil and gas industries through his various associations with national, state, and local political representatives. In addition, Don made the acquaintances of four United States Presidents and was active in the presidential campaigns of Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Jimmy Carter.
The funeral will be at Central Christian Church on Saturday and visitation will be at Miller Mortuary from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday evening.