Byron Klute, Class of 1950

Byron was part of the RHS football and wrestling teams. He attended Ball
State University earning a degree in History, Economics, and Government. While there, he played football for the Cardinals and was a member of the ROTC.

He joined the United States Air Force after the Korean War and was stationed in Cheyenne, Wyoming, but later was sent to Japan. He earned the rank of First Lieutenant and showed leadership.

He returned to Richmond and was hired as a teacher at RHS. He taught government and history and also served as wrestling coach.

In 1969 he was elected mayor of Richmond. He was just 35 years old, the youngest mayor in Richmond’s history. Three months into his term,  the downtown explosion leveled the business district. Under his leadership, downtown Richmond was rebuilt.

Klute was innovative in his approach. He sought funds from federal government programs, a route not taken before in Richmond.

He saw the benefit of using this money to help merchants regain financial footing and continue with their businesses.  As part of the redevelopment, he encouraged Elder Beerman to locate a store as a retail anchor in the downtown area.  The Promenade was constructed under his vision.  It served as a mark of urban renewal for the community.

He was re-elected Mayor in 1972. An opportunity to advance in politics came along with the Democratic Party and Senator Birch Bayh.

He worked for Birch Bayh and served with him in Muncie. He also worked on the staff for Congressman Phil Sharp. Klute then served as Housing Director for the City of Muncie. He returned to Richmond and worked as an insurance agent for Harrington- Hoch until his retirement.

He died still attending government functions for the town, encouraging others to make Richmond their home town.

He was a man who showed leadership at a time when it was most needed.

Andy Cecere: “Byron was tireless in his efforts for the growth and development of the Richmond Community and at no time was there a challenge to his honesty and integrity as mayor.”

Larry Crockett, in a letter to Byron: “During my two years at Ball State you were with me each day, giving me vital emotional support. Without that support, I would never have received a college degree.”

Jane Raiser Williams:  “I was a teacher at RHS when Byron graduated, and I can say that he was one of the most outstanding all-around students. I feel that Byron contributed much to the community and deserves to be the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award.”

Stan Huntsman: “I would like to strongly recommend Byron. As mayor, his leadership was nationally recognized.”

Klute passed away in 2008.








































  380 Hub Etchison Parkway, Richmond, IN 47374

 (765) 973-3338