Kirby Clawson, 89, of Plains, KS

March 07, 2024

Kirby Clawson, 89, of Plains, KS, passed away Friday morning, March 1, 2024, of congestive heart failure, at St. Catherine Hospital in Dodge City, KS, with his children gathered around. Kirby stayed active until the end, coming into the office Tuesday and still visiting about history and business with family members on Thursday night.

Kirby, the fourth of eight children, was born to C. H. "Dutch" and Bernice Pauline (Beaver) Clawson in the family home on the prairie, three miles east of Hitchland, Texas, on March 21, 1934. Kirby grew up riding a horse to attend a one-room schoolhouse in Hitchland as a child during the days of the Dust Bowl and Depression. In 1948, the family moved to a farm five miles west of Gruver where Kirby attended and graduated from high school in 1952. Kirby didn’t stray far from home when he attended Panhandle A & M College at Goodwell, OK, where he was active in ROTC, the photography club, the museum club, and the yearly cattle auction that continues to this day. Kirby took a mandatory art appreciation course there which seeded his love for art that continued throughout his life. Kirby was also on the livestock judging team and graduated with a B.S. in Animal Husbandry in 1956.

After graduation, Kirby farmed, ranched, and continued to help his father at the Stateline Grain Company in Hitchland. On March 19,1960, Kirby married a lovely Kansas girl, Mary Collingwood, who had been teaching school in Liberal, KS. After marriage, they made their home in Hitchland, TX. On April 1, 1962, Kirby and Mary moved to the farm northwest of Satanta, KS, where they spent nearly 50 years raising crops, cattle, and their six children.

Kirby gave his life to Jesus Christ in the 5th grade. When the preacher gave the altar call, Kirby went up with a cousin and a neighbor. The other two boys who answered that altar call became life-long pastors.

Kirby was a humorous storyteller and shared interesting facts about his life. A couple of his favorite stories while growing up in Hitchland follow:

“We had running water growing up. We took the bucket and ran it from the windmill to the house!”

“Dad would always pull me out of the one room school to move cattle. I asked him once why he didn’t pick any of my other brothers. He told me it was because I would never get behind in my class. I was the only one in my class!”

Kirby loved the challenge of farming, looking after the land, and improving and making the land more productive. Kirby helped many young men get started in the farming business by renting them ground and offering them advice over the years. Kirby was also blessed to be able to hire some good friends to help in many different capacities. He and his family are very grateful for all these relationships and the positive things that resulted from the expertise and hard work of many people.

Kirby served as a member and officer of the Southwest Kansas Irrigation Association, was a director of the REA Board, a member of the Satanta Chamber of Commerce, the Satanta School Board, and was one of the original Ground Water Management #3 Board members. Kirby served on the board of the Collingwood Grain Company for twenty years and as Chairman of the Board of The Plains State Bank (now Bank of the Plains) from 1977 until the early 2000’s. Kirby was a partner in the High Plains Ponderosa Dairy for the past two decades. God blessed Kirby with a mind for business and an incredible memory for recalling details.

Kirby shared his business knowledge, passion for good cattle, and farming expertise with his children. He began turning over the reins of the businesses to them thirty years ago as he stepped into a guiding and nurturing role – encouraging them to start new ventures and learn from their successes, as well as their failures.

Kirby was a life-long supporter of the 4-H and FFA programs in Haskell and Meade counties and was active in the Methodist Churches at both Satanta, KS, and later at Plains, KS where he loved bringing bananas for Sunday fellowship time. Kirby became known around Meade and Haskell counties as the doughnut man, bringing boxes of doughnuts to share at the coffee shops, cattle brandings, 4-H events, and his grandchildren’s sports events for many years. Family members will remember his many homemade breakfasts, which included: cheesy eggs, sausage, biscuits, gravy, and blueberry pancakes.

In 2010, Kirby and Mary moved to Plains, KS, where Kirby spent most of his days sharing his wisdom and his humor with his children, grandchildren, and anyone who visited. People often came to the Clawson Office to seek him out for his advice.

Kirby was preceded in death by his wife Mary Ruth, son Andrew Jerome Clawson, granddaughter Heidi Grace Clawson, great-grandson Wesley Kade Klahr, his parents, three brothers, Max, Rodney, and Chuck, and one sister, Wanda Stevens.

He is survived by his children: Marilyn (Greg) Giles, Dan (Tamra) Clawson, David (Jeanne) Clawson, Kenby (Lana) Clawson, and Mary Beth (Brent) Woods. Nineteen grandchildren: Abby Giles, Betsy Giles, Matthew (Tami) Giles, and Josiah Giles; Cooper (Leah) Clawson, Jacqueline (Dean) Klahr, Walker (Laura) Clawson, Gatlin Clawson, and Korben Clawson; Layne (Rachel) Clawson, Ann Clawson, and Carl Clawson; Kyla (Brady) Larson, Kendal (Caroline) Clawson, Kurtis (Paige) Clawson, and Kathryn (Corey) Spraggins; Adeline Woods, Emmett Woods, and Audy Woods; and 14 great-grandchildren with three more on the way in the next few months. Kirby is also survived by his sisters: Ella Mae Clawson, Margaret Bell, Karen (Bill) Seyb and sister-in-law Jo Alice Clawson, and a host of other relatives and friends.

Kirby was really looking forward to visiting with all of his family and friends at his 90th birthday party later this month, but what a wonderful Heavenly Birthday he is celebrating instead.

A celebration of life service will be held at the Plains Methodist Church at 10:30 am on Friday, March 8, 2024. After the service, the family welcomes everyone to a catered meal. The family would love to greet you there. Burial will follow at 2:30 p.m. at the Dudley Township Cemetery, Satanta, KS. Friends may call from 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. with the family present from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Thursday, March 7, 2024, at Fidler-Orme-Bachman Mortuary, Meade, KS.

The family welcomes memorials to the Plains Methodist Church or to the charity of the donor’s choice in care of the funeral home.



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