TOPEKA (KSNT) – Shawnee County Parks and Recreation held a memorial for Ted Ensley Friday morning at the Ted Ensley Botanical Gardens at Lake Shawnee.

Ensley was hired as the county’s first parks and rec superintendent in 1961, spending 31 years in the position. He was elected to the Shawnee Co. Commission in 1996 and served 16 years on the commission.

Ted was appointed Kansas Secretary of Wildlife and Parks in 1992 to 1995 and was elected to the Shawnee County Commission in 1998, serving until 2014. He was also the first manager of the Kansas Expocentre.

The Botanical Gardens at 37th and West Edge Road at Lake Shawnee are named after Ted. One of his greatest honors was the naming of the world-class Ted Ensley Botanical Gardens in 1992.

Ted was married to Elna N. Nelson and had three children: Douglas, Kathleen and Constance.

Ted Ensley, 87, of Topeka, passed away Thursday, March 9, 2023.