OLATHE, Kan. — Long-time leader Ed Eilert ended his 44-year career in public service Thursday by chairing a final Johnson County Commission meeting.

A reception is planned Friday to honor Eilert. It will be held at the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center, a landmark Eilert strongly supported.

The building now houses the Johnson County Museum and Johnson County Parks and Recreation Programs. Both a part of Eilert’s county legacy.

Eilert served 16 years as a county commissioner. Before that, he spent 24 years as Overland Park’s mayor. Eilert also served on the Overland Park City Council.

He’s helped lead Johnson County during a time of tremendous growth and prosperity, saying there is nothing more rewarding than public service.

“Whatever the issue is, listen to both sides evaluate the information that’s been presented and then make the decision that’s best for the community and so with that method of operation in mind I think we can continue to prosper and be a great community to live, work and raise a family,” Eilert said.

Eilert, and wife Jan, have called Overland Park home since 1965.

He moved to the metro to teach at Shawnee Mission East High School before becoming a financial advisor. Eilert retired from that job in 2008.