Ken was born June 16, 1925, in Ladysmith, Wisc., to Oscar and Alice “Miles” Lemke. He was raised in the nearby town of Hawkins with an older sister, Lois, and two younger brothers, Alden and Stewart.
He graduated from Hawkins High School in 1942, just shy of his 17th birthday. After finishing school he pursued technical training in sheet metal fabrication and moved to Seattle to help in the war effort by working in the ship yards.
Immediately before his 18th birthday, Ken enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, serving in the 3rd Air Wing. After basic training at Great Lakes Naval Base as experimental machinist, he was assigned duty on the eastern seaboard. He spent the majority of his time patroling the waters of the Atlantic via airplane, watching for enemy submarines.
As the war wound down, he was assigned to Camp Pendleton in San Diego to assist in processing the discharge of Marines.
On one of his furlough trips to Los Angeles, Ken met Bernice Foster at a USO party. She caught his eye and in November 1946, they were married. They loved and adored one another for the next 63 years.
During the next three years, the young couple had two sons. They made their home in southern California, except for a couple of years spent in the frigid north of Wisconsin. Ken pursued a career in precision sheet metal manufacturing. His natural abilities and leadership qualities always seemed to make him the “man in charge.” The family traveled and enjoyed a fulfilling life including activities such as building a vacation cabin the Los Angeles mountains, participating in Boy Scouts, as well as Little League Baseball. Ken showed pride in his sons and they always appreciated that they had such as great man as a father.
Later in life, Ken and Bernice moved to Oregon. Ken changed career paths and worked in construction, then became the maintenance superintendent for the Prospect School District. He followed this by working for Norco Windows as their west coast representative and provided technical assistance to homebuilders and contractors.
Ken retired from working in the mid-1990s, but never retired from helping people meet their goals. He was active in the Civil Air Patrol, Lions Club Sight and Hearing Center, Eagle Point Lions, Eagle Point City Council, Eagle Point Senior Center, and most recently he was the president of his church congregation.
He radiated an abundance of love on his family. He is survived by his wife, Bernice, sons, John (Pamela) and Gregory (Lyn); grandchildren Ryan (Betty), Kenneth, Elizabeth (Brian), Jaimie (Heather) and Robert and the newest addition, a great-grandson, Chase. Ken was truly a leader and inspiration in all of his activities and community organizations.
When all is said and done, the true measure of a man is not what he had, but what he gave. We can all be thankful for the blessings Ken bestowed on us and wish him peace in the presence of God.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Southern Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Center, 228 N. Holly, Medford, OR 97501 or the Eagle Point Senior Center, PO Box 898 Eagle Point, OR 97524.
A memorial service will be held Thursday, Dec. 3 at 2 p.m. at the Eagle Point Ashpole Community Center.