Steve McMahan Is The Grand Marshall At This Year’s Piotique Festival

Courtesy of Grow Clay County:

This Saturday, at our Annual Piotique Festival, we have the privilege of recognizing Steve McMahan as the 2023 Grand Marshal. Although you may be familiar with him as the warm and welcoming presence at Central Office Service and Supply, that is only part of his rich story. We look forward to honoring Steve this weekend!

Steve McMahan, a true Clay Center native, is a testament to the enduring spirit of small-town America. From his early years on Frederick Street to his remarkable journey as an entrepreneur and community leader, Steve’s life has been marked by a deep commitment to his roots and an unwavering dedication to making a difference.

Steve was born and raised in Clay Center, he attended McKinley School before attending the newly built high school. He graduated in 1968 from Clay Center Community High School as the Salutatorian. During his high school years, he excelled academically and showcased his athletic talents by lettering in track and cross country. His passion for music led him to become a member of the Tiger Chorale. He pursued higher education, initially attending Sterling College before transferring to Kansas State University. In 1972, Steve graduated Magna Cum Laude from Kansas State University, holding a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education with certifications in Mathematics and all branches of Science.

After completing his education, Steve ventured into the field of education, working as a Junior High Science teacher at Chapman for two years. In 1974, Steve and Sheryl McMahan, his wife and a Clay County native, decided to return to Clay Center. Their strong ties to the community, including regular attendance at their local church, drew them back. It was during this time that an opportunity arose in the service department of Central Office, a company with a rich history founded by Steve’s father, Wilson McMahan, and Henry Copeland. Initially, Steve began repairing typewriters, but he soon took on more responsibility servicing copiers. 

Steve’s role in the business led to his co-ownership in 1977. Over the years, Central Office Service & Supply evolved and expanded, relocating several times before settling in its current location. Today, Steve and Sheryl are the sole owners of the business and the building, marking a significant milestone. Steve is actively involved in managing the business, especially in large machine purchasing and proposals. He also continues to work on typewriters, serving law offices, courthouses, and banks, all of which remain devoted users of these machines. Central Office even has a historical typewriter display with machines over a century old. In 2022, Central Office celebrated its 75th year of dedicated service to Clay Center and its surrounding areas.

Steve’s passion for typewriters goes beyond business; he is an avid collector with over 60 typewriters in his personal collection. His interests extend to reading and history, particularly his admiration for Dwight Eisenhower. Steve and Sheryl love to travel, especially to Japan to see their daughter Rebecca and her family. Additionally, his lifelong fascination with airplanes, nurtured since childhood, led him to earn a private pilot’s license at the age of 34.

Steve has been an active member of the Rotary Club since 1978, even serving as President from 1985 to 1986. During his presidency, he initiated the Rotary Radio Day fundraiser. His dedication to improving Clay Center extended to the Chamber of Commerce, where he served on the board for four years and served as President in 1996. One of his notable achievements was partnering to establish Clay Center @, which brought local and high-speed internet access to the area.

Steve also played a crucial role in the Clay County Economic Development Group (EDG) from 2013 to 2022, participating in planning meetings that led to the merger of the Clay Center Chamber of Commerce and the Clay County EDG, resulting in the creation of Grow Clay County. He currently serves on the Grow Clay County Network Kansas E-Community Committee and the Loan Review Board. 

Steve’s devotion to his local community is exemplified through his active involvement in Hebron Reformed Presbyterian Church. When Steve and Sheryl returned to Clay Center, they joined a small rural church in need of young couples, playing a vital role in revitalizing the congregation. As an elected elder, Steve has been instrumental in guiding his church’s journey, including its relocation from south of Idana to Goodin Drive in Clay Center in 1978. This small but close-knit congregation is part of the rich history of Reformed Presbyterianism in Clay County, dating back to 1871.

His dedication led him to serve on the Denominational Board of Trustees for 18 years, and in 2011, he made history by being elected as Moderator of the Synod, only the second Ruling Elder to hold this position in the denomination’s 225-year history.

Additionally, he served on the Board of Trustees of Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania from 1998 until 2015 and continues his involvement on the Geneva Board of Corporators since 2015, currently serving as Chairman of the Board of Corporators. 

Steve and Sheryl (Schurle), a Clay County native tied the knot in 1972. They raised three children: Matt, Rebecca, and Rachel. Matt settled in Clay Center, working at Central Office Service & Supply. Rebecca, resides in Kobe, Japan, with her husband Takahiro Ota with their two children. Rachel, lives in Lawrence, Kansas, with her husband, Dr. Peter McDonald, and their four children. 

Steve is a testament to the power of dedication, entrepreneurship, and community service. From his academic achievements to his leadership roles in various organizations and his successful business endeavors, Steve’s impact on Clay Center and beyond is unmeasurable. He continues to inspire with his unwavering commitment to making a difference in the lives of others and his passion for lifelong learning and adventure. 

We invite you to honor Steve McMahan as our 2023 Grand Marshal during the Piotique Parade in Downtown Clay Center this Saturday, September 30th at 2:00 p.m. 

Sign up for the KCLY Digital Newspaper, The Regional