• Home
  • Chronister, Rochelle

Chronister, Rochelle

Rochelle
Chronister
Year Inducted: 
1990
Rochelle Chronister
Highlights: 
  • 1978: Elected to the Kansas House of Representatives, Ninth District
  • 1983-86: Assistant Majority Leader of the House, the first woman elected to a leadership position in the Kansas Legislature
  • 1989: State Chair of the Kansas Republican Party
  • Established the Board of Trustees of the Wilson County Hospital Foundation
  • Research Virologist at the University of Kansas Medical Center from 1961-64
  • Vice President of the joint venture, Neodesha Lumber Company, a building and supply company 
Biography: 

Rochelle Chronister is a "remarkable Kansas woman for whom the future holds great expectations unscored with both challenges and opportunities," according to Mary Turkington.  She is a graduate of Neodesha (Kansas) High School and the University of Kansas, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Bacteriology in 1961.  She went on to become a research virologist at the University of Kansas Medical Center from 1961-64.

Through her involvement with various committees, this inductee has made significant contributions to her community.  She helped establish and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Wilson County Hospital Foundation, a non-profit organization formed in 1989 to help fulfill the health care needs of Wilson County citizens.  She was a Girl Scout and Cub Scout Leader for seven years and a board member of the Meadowlark Girl Scout Council, a member of the W.A. Rankin Library board for three years, a member of Neodesha school board for ten years, including three years as Vice President; and she has been active in the Neodesha Methodist Church as a teacher, choir member, and board member and Chair of the Council of Ministries.  She also served on the Kansas Advisory Council to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act for nine years, serving as Chair for three years.  Ms. Beach is an active member of Business and Professional Women, the Kansas Medical Auxiliary, and the Neodesha Arts Association.  She also serves as Vice President of the joint venture, Neodesha Lumber Company, a building and supply company.

Besides her many civic contributions, Rochelle Chronister has had a direct influence on many young women.  She has encouraged women to enter health care fields and often assisted them in finding funding.  Her positive attitude and the ability to "make things happen" have made her a popular Keynote speaker at Kansas Girls State.  She has recruited many women to run for political office on all levels.  This inductee was a Kansas Young Republican national committeewoman, a Republican precinct committeewoman for seven years, a member of Wilson County Republican central committee for seven years (serving as Vice Chair for two years and County Chair for four years).

In 1978, Ms. Chronister was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives, Ninth District.  Since her election, she provided the Kansas Legislature with distinguished leadership.  She was Vice Chair of both the House Public Health & Welfare committee and the Social & Rehabilitation Review commission during the 1981 and 1982 sessions.  As a member of the prestigious Appropriations Committee and Chair of an Appropriations SubCommittee, she has been influential in shaping budget priorities for the State of Kansas.  She served on the House Economic Development Committee and chaired the Joint Committee on Economic Development.  This nominee has been active in the development and support of economic development initiatives in the state and was instrumental in the passage of a comprehensive highway plan during the 1989 Legislative Session.  She also served on the Kansas Advocacy & Protective Services Board and on the Board of Directors for the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation (KTEC).

Ms. Chronister had the honor of being the first woman elected to a leadership position in the Kansas Legislature when she served as Assistant Majority Leader of the House from 1983-86.  In January, 1989, she was elected Vice Chair of the Kansas Republican Party and in August of that years she was elected as the State Chair of the Kansas Republican Party.

She has been honored by a number of organizations.  In 1972, she was named to Outstanding Young Women in America.  The Neodesha Chamber of commerce selected her in 1979 as its "Woman of the Year" in appreciation of her tireless work on behalf of Southeast Kansas.  She was the recipient of the Kansas Public Health Association Outstanding Legislator Award in 1982, and in 1987, she was named the Neodesha Alumnus of the Year.  In 1989, she received the National Federation of Independent (Small) Business Award.

From 2001-2005 she was an active member of the Kansas Children's Campaign, as well as a Neodesha Community Foundation Board member since 2004. She was a chair for the Education Commission in the state of Kansas from 2005-2010. She was also a Founding Board Member U.S. Alliance Insurance Co. in 2010 and remains active in the organization to this day.

Former Kansas Governor Mike Hayden says, "[She] is truly one of the outstanding leaders of Kansas and has a very bright future to achieve even higher levels of leadership within the state and nation."  Ms. Chronister's daughter adds, "[She] is not one to sit in the back of the room and let others make the way for her.  She is one of them out there making the way, moving ahead, and helping... many other individuals to move ahead also."               


Signup for our e-Newsletter
Calendar of Events