First Shawnee Co. parks director honored for years of service

Published: Oct. 17, 2021 at 9:00 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Family, friends, and both community and state leaders came together to celebrate the work of Ted Ensley for the first official ‘Ted Ensley Day.’

“I know I’m biased but I don’t think there is anyone who has done more for Shawnee County than Ted Ensley,” said Randy Lubbe, Director of Parks Services at Shawnee County Parks and Recreation.

“Ted Ensley was our first parks and rec superintendent back in 1961, he has had over fifty-two years of public service between being the director and being a Shawnee County commissioner and also serving as the secretary of wildlife and parks and we wanted to recognize all of his accomplishments, especially beautiful lake Shawnee.”

Randy Lubbe says Ted’s management of Shawnee County Parks and Recreation made Lake Shawnee what it is today.

“When he was hired in 1961, if you look at the lake right now you couldn’t even see the lake through the underbrush and his goal was to make it a destination site and obviously in 2017 Expedia voted Lake Shawnee as the number one destination site in Kansas.”

To honor everything he’s done for the county, Shawnee County Commission officially declared October 17th as Ted Ensley Day.

The ceremony took place on Sunday in the same house where he raised his family.

“It’s always amazing to come back and see where this park came from and knowing what I grew up with and having the opportunity to see it and see people,” said Doug Ensley, Ted’s Son. “Growing up in a park you really get to meet a lot of people from around the city and around the country and those are experiences that really make you grow.”

After the ceremony, Ted’s family had one more surprise for him.

Ted and Elma’s family invited a pastor to the ceremony so they could renew their wedding vows ahead of their 65th wedding anniversary on Wednesday.

The Ensley family says each year on October 17th they will gather at the garden house at Lake Shawnee to celebrate Ted and all of his accomplishments.

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