ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. – Kenneth F. Kern, 86, of Arkansas City, Kan., formerly of Osage City, Kan., passed away Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, at the South Central Kansas Medical Center, Arkansas City. He was born July 7, 1930, at Washington, Kan., the son of Frank and Gertrude (Neumann) Kern.
He grew up on the family farm near Washington and graduated from Washington High School in 1948. He graduated from Kansas State University in January 1953 with a degree in agricultural education and a commission as second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. He was a U.S. Air Force veteran of the Korean War and the Berlin Wall Crisis, serving three years active duty and 25 in the reserves. He retired from the Air Force Reserves as a lieutenant colonel. After two years active duty in the Air Force, he returned to Kansas State University and earned a master’s degree in farm mechanics and school administration. While teaching he was recalled to active duty for one year during the Berlin Wall crisis in 1961.
Kenneth spent 22 years in the Osage City school system as a vocational agriculture teacher, high school principal and member of the USD 420 Board of Education. Before retirement in 1995, he was the executive director of the State Conservation Commission, in Topeka, Kan.
He was a member of the Osage City First United Methodist Church, and later the Arkansas City Redeemer Lutheran Church, charter member of the Osage City Kiwanis Club, served as Kiwanis division lieutenant governor, district secretary, and on Kiwanis International committees, board of directors of the Kansas High School Activities Association and the National Association of State Conservation Agencies, ex-officio member of the Kansas Water Authority, member of the Re-inventing Kansas Water Permitting Team, and State Geographics Information System Committee, and served on many other committees while working for the state of Kansas.
He married Leona Fry on Aug. 19, 1951, in Sedgwick, Kan. He was preceded in death by his wife on May 2, 2009. He was also preceded in death by his parents and brother.
Survivors include daughters, Linda and husband Larry Smith, of Pleasant Hill, Iowa, and Lois and husband Bryan Faber, Arkansas City; a son, David and wife Pat Kern, Republic, Mo.; and 13 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
Funeral services are scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 7, at the Redeemer Lutheran Church of Arkansas City. Graveside services will be at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Osage City Cemetery. A reception will follow at 3:30 p.m. at the Osage City United Methodist Church, 219 S. Sixth St. All family and friends are invited to the church’s fellowship hall for refreshments and a time to visit with the family. The family will also greet friends 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday evening at Rindt-Erdman Funeral Home, Arkansas City.
Memorials have been established with the Osage City Public Library, Osage City Kiwanis Club Scholarship Program, the Arkansas City Redeemer Lutheran Church, and the South Central Kansas Medical Center. Contributions may be made through Rindt-Erdman Funeral Home, 100 E. Kansas Ave., Arkansas City, KS 67005. Condolences may be made at rindt-erdman.com.