Ken or Kenny, as he was known to many, was born Sept. 9, 1926, to Mahala "Gertrude" and Samuel L. Grider in Georgetown.
He had two older sisters, Pauline and Willabelle, and four older brothers, Samuel, James, Robert and Ezekiel. He was preceded in death by his parents and siblings.
He is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Patricia Ann (George) Grider; two children, Cynthia Ann Grider Davis (Gene) and Timothy Leo Grider (Shane); two grandchildren, Adam Guy Davis and Kelly Dawn Davis Lenhart; seven great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
Ken grew up in Georgetown, but also lived in Chicago and Covington, Ind. He was 46 when he received his high school diploma, as he had dropped out of high school to go to the Navy, where he served for four years during World War II. While in the Navy, he was a Golden Gloves boxing champion. Ken worked briefly at Marshall Field in Chicago before working for more than 30 years at the Veteran's Administration in Danville, where he started as an aide and retired as an X-ray technologist. His son, Timothy, followed in his footsteps as an X-ray technologist.
It was at the VA that Ken met the love of his life, Patty. "She was standing on a ladder the first time I saw her. When our eyes met, I knew she would be my wife." They married July 3, 1952. He was proud to tell everyone, "I've never even looked at another woman after I fell in love with my wife." His family and friends can attest to his unending love of Patty. They were known as "Ken and Barbie" at the Oakwood Truck Stop, where they frequently dined.
Ken was proud of his Cherokee heritage, and was given the nickname "The Bald Eagle" after losing his hair later in life. He was an avid hunter and supplied the family with squirrel, pheasant, rabbits and deer. He enjoyed fishing, golf, bowling, camping and family vacations.
Ken played baseball for the Des Moines Twilight League for many years as a catcher. He loved sports, and had a special affinity for the Cubs.
Ken will always be remembered for his sense of humor. At any given moment, he might erupt with an euphemism or colorful saying. He was a proud member of the "International Order of Turtles," in keeping with his sense of humor; and was also a 32nd Degree Mason. He was quite a humanitarian - always willing to help his friends physically and financially, took in foster children, and even opened his home to a number of dogs and cats.
You have been a great inspiration to us and we will always remember and love you! - Your family.
The family requests all memorial contributions be made to C.A.R.A. no-kill animal shelter.
A service to celebrate the life of Ken Grider will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11, at Sunset Funeral Home and Cremation Center, A Life Celebration Home, in Danville. Pastor Susan Starr will officiate. Burial will follow in Oakridge Cemetery in Catlin.
Visitation will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. prior to the service on Saturday, also at Sunset in Danville.
Please join Ken's family in sharing memories, photos and video of his life through his tribute wall at www.sunsetfuneralhome.com.