KENNETH D. KIRKELIE
February 3, 1936 – April 21, 2021
Born in Bowbells, ND, on February 3, 1936, Ken moved to Lebanon with his family in 1941, attending public schools through graduation from LHS w/the class of ’54. After high school he joined the service where he became a member of the 3635th Combat Crew Training Wing, better known as “The Walking Air Force” as a Survival Instructor at Stead AFB, Nevada. Following his honorable discharge, he and his wife returned to Lebanon where they have lived since. He attended Oregon College of Education, B.S. in Education; Oregon State University, M.E.; University of Oregon, Administrator of Education; covering his 30-year career as a Teacher, Coach, Vice Principal, and Administrator of Transportation and Maintenance. He spent several of those years teaching, coaching and mentoring middle schoolers whom he loved. He often remarked how he always looked forward to going to work, no matter in what phase of his career he was at the time.
He was a life-member of Elks Lodge 1663, Kiwanis International, and attended Albany United Presbyterian Church.
He married Nancy Caldwell in 1956, recently celebrating their 65th anniversary. Also surviving is son Kevin (Ronda) and daughter Kari Rex (Mike); granddaughters Taylor and Tristin; three step-grandsons; five great-grandchildren and sister, Shirley Morehouse (Jim). His parents, Ed and Helen Kirkelie and brothers Maynard and Ernie, preceded him in death.
A man of many interests, he treasured his friends and neighbors who were his ‘other brothers from a different mother’. They rode horses together, backpacked into the wilderness, hunted deer, elk, and moose, and they played CARDS together…all cards, any cards…in his shop known as ‘the man cave’.
Wintering in Arizona for many years, he nurtured an even larger ‘band of brothers’. He was a friend to all who knew him, a wonderful husband and father, a great teacher who loved his students, and a man who never spoke evil of anyone. ‘One in a million’ is a rare compliment …but he was just that, never to be forgotten.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 11:00 am, Saturday, June 26th, at the United Presbyterian Church of Albany, located at Fifth and Broadalbin. The service will also be livestreamed on the church’s website www.upcalbany.org
In lieu of flowers, contributions toward a scholarship in his memory may be made out to: Lebanon High School, att: Ken Kirkelie Scholarship and sent in care of Huston-Jost Funeral Home, 86 W. Grant St., Lebanon, OR 97355.