Kenneth Wilson, age 84 of Kadoka, SD, died September 5, 2008, at the Kadoka Nursing Home.
Visitation will be held 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 11, at the Rush Funeral Chapel in Kadoka, and one hour preceding the services at the church on Friday.
Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, September 12, at the Presbyterian Church in Kadoka, with Pastor Gary McCubbin officiating.
Music will be provided by Jean Weller, pianist, with congregational hymns. Ushers will be Russ and Bud Olney. Pallbearers will be Orville Josserand, Bud Weller, Floren Falzone, Roger Lone, Oliver Willert and Jim Kujawa.
Interment with military honors will be in the Kadoka Cemetery.
Kenneth "Kenny" Wilson was born December 18, 1923, in Elbon, SD. He was the second of four children born to his parents, Key and Patie (Sutton) Wilson. His birth was overseen by a midwife, which was still a general practice of ranch families in that era. After 20 years, Key remembered to file Kenny's birth at the courthouse.
He graduated from Kadoka High School, and in March of 1943 enlisted in the U.S. Army. After his training, he was stationed in Elizabethtown, KY, where he married Eleanor Holmes, also a Kadoka High School graduate.
Upon completion of his military service in February of 1946, he returned to Kadoka and went to work for his father at The People's Market grocery store. Shortly thereafter, in 1948, he purchased that store with a simple contract drafted on the back of a Tourist Cafe napkin.
Over the years of his residency in Kadoka, he was very civic-minded; participating in local politics and eventually becoming the Mayor of Kadoka. He also served as the Chief of the Kadoka Volunteer Fire Department for several years. Some of the notable fire events fought by Kenny and his volunteers were the "Burning of the Camp Joy Tower," and the "Kadoka Grain Elevator" fire. His other interests included the American Legion, and the Masonic Lodge. Ken's work was instrumental in the annual Kadoka Labor Day Buffalo Feed, Parade & Rodeo in the 1950s. As a member of the American Legion and a father of ball players, he could always be relied upon to drive a carload of Little League or Teeners baseball players to a couple of away games during the season.
In the mid 60s, Kenny sold People's Market and moved his family to Pierre, SD, for a brief period prior to moving to Cheyenne, WY, in 1966, where he and Eleanor purchased The Fleetwood Motel. In 1970, Ken sold the motel and yielded to his love for the grocery business by accepting a Civil Service position as the Commissary Manager for the F.E. Warren Air Force base there. He took early retirement from the Civil Service following a series of heart attacks on the job.
Once retired, Ken and Eleanor moved to a retirement community in Mesa, AZ, where they barely met the "over 55" restriction. They were active and participated in community events such as RV camping, golf and card parties.
In February of 2005, Ken suffered a stroke, which slowed his activity in the retirement community. Then in 2007, as a result of the "card shower" generated by the Kadoka Press' announcement of their 65th Anniversary, Kenny and his bride moved again back to their hometown ... Kadoka.
On Friday, September 5, 2008, Kenny passed away peacefully in his recliner.
Survivors include his wife, Eleanor Wilson of Kadoka; two sons, Wayne Wilson and his wife, Patty, of Gillette, WY, and their sons, Andy and Bobby and his wife, Shannon, and Bob Wilson and his wife, Malia, of Oklahoma City, OK; two step-grandchildren, Justin and Shauna; three step-great-grandchildren; three sisters, Clara Weller and her husband, Bud, of Kadoka, Charlotte Clark and her husband, Lester, of Aberdeen, and Lucy Freeman and her husband, Glenn, of Oglala, NE; and a host of other relatives and friends.
Kenneth was preceded in death by his parents Key and Patience (Sutton) Wilson.
Arrangements are with the Rush Funeral Chapel of Kadoka. Online guestbook available at www.rushfuneralhome.com