MANHATTAN –– Kenneth Eugene Kirkendall, age 84 of Manhattan, went home to be with his heavenly Father on February 28, 2013. He passed at the Westy Care Home in Westmoreland, KS surrounded by his family, following a lengthy journey through Alzheimer’s Disease.
He was born in Smith Center, Kansas to Harvey and Florence (Walker) Kirkendall on May 22, 1928, and was the youngest of four children: Carroll, Marie Belle, and A.J. Kenneth graduated from Smith Center High School in 1946, from Kansas State Agricultural College in 1950, and from Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology in 1954.
He married Ora Mae Grandfield in Manhattan, KS in 1951; their four children and spouses survive: Geoffrey and Brenda Kirkendall (Lawrence, KS); Karen and Bob Parker (Raymondville, MO); Kaleen and Max Knopp (Abilene, KS), and Kevin Kirkendall (Jersey City, NJ). Additional survivors include his wife Ora Mae of the home, his brother A.J. of Smith Center, 12 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.
Kenneth served as chaplain at the Norton State Hospital for the mentally handicapped from 1964-1987. After the state hospital system moved residents to group homes, he served as chaplain for the Norton Correctional Facility from 1987-1990. Kenneth enjoyed his ministry and served the Lord with joy and humility; he loved the mentally handicapped residents whom he served faithfully for many years.
He was a humble and hardworking man who enjoyed woodworking, singing, sports, reading, journaling, writing poetry, and spending time with family enjoying nature and God’s creation. Kenneth spent many joyful hours outdoors, boating and fishing, working in the garden, hiking and camping at lakes and in the mountains, and traveling. He was interested in history, politics, and culture, and served in several service organizations, including the Northwest Kansas Association of Retarded Citizens, Kansans for Life at Its Best, The United Methodist Church West Conference, Good Sams’ Konza Kampers, Habitat for Humanity, Little Apple Barbershop Chorus, and Rotary International. He is deeply loved and will be sincerely missed by friends and family.
Funeral services will be held at 10:00 A.M. Saturday, March 9th, at the First United Methodist Church, 612 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan, with Pastor Troy Bowers officiating. Interment will follow in the Sunset Cemetery in Manhattan.
The family will receive friends from 6:00 until 8:00 P.M. Friday, March 8th, at the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home.
Online condolences may be left for the family through the funeral home website at www.ymlfuneralhome.com.
Memorial contributions may be made to The Arc of Central Plains or the First United Methodist Church. Contributions may be left in care of the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan, KS 66502.
(This obituary was written and paid for by the family of Kenneth E. Kirkendall)