A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Clyde Middleton, 91, former state Senator and Kenton Judge-Executive, dies after long illness

Staff report

Clyde W. Middleton, 91, long-time Northern Kentucky political leader and public servant, died July 12 at Rosedale Green in Covington, after a long illness.

He was battling cancer and had been moved to hospice a few days before his death.

Middleton was a Kentucky State Senator from 1967-1986 and served as Kenton County Judge-Executive from 1990 to 1998.

Clyde Middleton

He and his wife, Mary Ann Middleton, who died in 2011, were well-known and popular in the community and engaged in numerous good works. They lived in Fort Mitchell.

“First and foremost, Clyde was a friend,” said Ken Harper who served in the as a state representative in the legislature with Middleton. “When I decided to enter politics, he was a trusted advisor, helping me to win my first political campaign.

“Aside from my personal respect for Clyde, he should be remembered as a pioneer of Northern Kentucky Republicans. He preceded us in fighting the political battles to build a solid Republican presence in Northern Kentucky.”

Current Kenton County Judge-Executive Kris Knockelmann remembers Middleton as kind and supportive.

“I am grateful for Clyde’s leadership of our region and service to our country,” said Knockelmann in a Facebook post. “Judge Middleton was always kind and patient with me and always treated me with respect. He always had a positive outlook, always made kind comments about what was going on and showed how to be a great public servant, a loyal and supportive spouse, and a loving parent.

Three Judges-Executive of Kenton County: Dick Murgatroyd, Kris Knockelmann, and Clyde Middleton

“We are better because Clyde shared his time with us and happy that he finally has his place with his wonderful wife Mary.”

Former Judge-Executive Richard Murgatroyd, also a close friend of Middleton’s, agrees.

“Clyde Middleton leaves us having touched many lives in his time on this earth through his service at the state level and in Northern Kentucky,” said Murgatroyd. “He set the benchmark for many who entered into political life. He certainly was a special friend and mentor for me throughout my political career.”

Middleton was a veteran of the United States Navy and a longtime member of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. He served Northern Kentucky through politics, work and volunteering. He co-chaired the successful petition drive for the Kenton County Library. And, along with his late wife, received the Devou Cup for service to philanthropy.

In presenting the award, Mike Hammons, director of Advocacy at Children Inc, shared these thoughts about the Middletons:

“No one ever gave more of themselves to their community than Mary and Clyde Middleton,” he said. “Philanthropy and community service were part of their DNA. They supported many, many worthwhile causes and organizations that helped to make Northern Kentucky a special place to live. They supported the arts, education, civic engagement, good government, justice and fairness, the poor, interfaith relations and many others. They gave money and they gave their time and they did so to an extraordinary degree.

“You would see them behind nearly every important cause – participating in and often planning fundraisers, public meetings and events in support of these causes. They loved their community and they showed that in the loving way they went about their work to support it. They had a fierce pride for Northern Kentucky and instilled that pride in all of us who knew them.”

Clyde Middleton (file photo)

Senator Mitch McConnell released this statement about Middleton:

“Elaine and I extend our condolences to the family of Clyde Middleton, one of Northern Kentucky’s leading citizens and public servants. As a Naval officer and an elected official, Clyde’s lifetime of dedication showcased the best values of our Commonwealth. Working across the aisle in Frankfort to deliver for his constituents, Clyde steered our future without sacrificing his values. Northern Kentucky University and the Salmon P. Chase College of Law stand as testaments to his advocacy. As Kenton County Judge-Executive, Clyde got to do what he loved best—improve the lives of the men and women of Northern Kentucky. His leadership helped build a wonderful community for families to enjoy for years to come.

“As Clyde’s friends, family and colleagues remember his remarkable life, we’re comforted in the knowledge he’s at last reunited with his beloved wife, Mary. Clyde and Mary’s legacy should inspire others to continue their good works and commitment to service.”

Middleton is preceded in death by his two sisters and is survived by his children, Ann (Jack) Schmidt of Orlando, Florida, David (Laverne) Middleton of Lexington, Richard (Carol) Middleton of Ft. Mitchell, and John (Janet) Middleton of Erlanger. John Middleton is Kenton County Circuit Court Clerk.

Middleton also leaves behind his eight grandchildren, Dustin and Bridget Schmidt, Alex and Rachael Middleton, Kelsey and Kyle Middleton, and Joey and Will Middleton.

Visitation will be Saturday, July 20, 2019 from 9 a.m.-noon at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Crestview Hills.

The funeral service will immediately follow the visitation at noon at the church.

The family has asked that in lieu of flowers to please donate to: The Clyde and Mary Middleton Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, 200 West Fourth St. Cincinnati, OH 45202.

Online condolences can be made at Linnemann Funeral Homes which is serving the family.

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One Comment

  1. Mike Rabe says:

    If you are going to report the story, report all the story. Middleton was forced to resign his position because he gave inside information to Corporex for building the Justice Center. It cost the county $850,000.00 as a result. He had to testify to keep himself out of jail as well. Those weren’t little mistakes. That was corruption. Maybe he did repent and become a better person, but lets not make him a saint either.

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