Memorial set for former Kan. social services chief

Robert C. Harder
Robert C. Harder

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A memorial service is scheduled for Wednesday for Robert C. Harder, a former Kansas legislator who helped create the agency that became the state Department for Children and Families and served as its top administrator for two decades.

An obituary supplied by the family said Harder died Saturday at the age of 84 at his home at Brewster Place from an inoperable brain tumor.

His memorial service is Wednesday afternoon at First United Methodist Church in Topeka.

Harder served six years in the Kansas House before joining then-Democratic Gov. Robert Docking’s administration in 1967.

He helped set up the state social services agency and was its secretary until 1987, the longest tenure of any state Cabinet secretary. He served in the Cabinets of five governors from both political parties. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language, racial slurs or consistent name calling will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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