Tuesday, November 15, 2016
11:00 AM EST
Decatur Bible Church
80797 M-51 Highway North
Decatur, MI 49045
Burial at Chamberlain Cemetery, then food and fellowship will be shared in the church hall.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Many people have been blessed through the life of Ken Washburn. He was a man of few words, but since he was filled with timeless wisdom people knew to listen when he did speak up. Ken loved nothing more than to see his family blossom and grow to include children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. Blessed to spend his life with his true love, there was no doubt that he was a devoted husband and father. Everything about Ken was truthful and gentle, and his warm spirit was easy to see. Although life will never be the same without him here, he leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that his loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.
Life during the early 1940s was focused overseas as countless young servicemen and women were deeply entrenched in the perils of WWII. For those who remained stateside, rationing became a way of life, and manufacturing was almost entirely focused on supporting the war effort. The lives of Mr. and Mrs. Washburn, however, were greatly blessed by the birth of their new baby boy, whom they named Ken. From the time he was born he was a blessing in his parents’ lives. Ken was the third of five children in his family as he was raised alongside his brother, Ted, and his sisters, Joann, Kathy, and Wendy.
In many ways Ken was a typical boy of his generation. Growing up on a farm in Decatur, Michigan, meant that he had his fair share of farm chores as they had fruits like grapes and cherries as well as asparagus to tend to. Both before and after school Ken was out there working, which instilled a strong work ethic that would follow him throughout his life. Ken began his education in a one-room schoolhouse and remained there until it closed. He then attended Lawton schools throughout his life. Although there was little free time, he did enjoy fishing. Ken was also an animal lover who had a horse, dog, and cat. As a student at Lawton he played some basketball. After graduating in 1962 Ken went on to Bob Jones University where he pursued general studies. His father died during this time, so Ken left school to return home and help on the farm.
New and exciting changes were in store for Ken when he met the woman of his dreams. She was a young woman from Comstock named Judy Dubbeld, and they were introduced by mutual friends who set them up on a blind date. Sparks flew, and they soon found themselves deeply in love. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Ken and Judy were married just six months later on December 28, 1967, at Bethel Baptist Church in Kalamazoo. The couple didn’t take a honeymoon and settled into a place in Paw Paw. Together they welcome their two adopted daughters, Kim and Jen, into their hearts and home. To support his family, Ken worked hard. He initially drove truck for a creamery, he then worked at Checker Motors, but the bulk of his career was spent working at Consumers Power, which later became Consumers Energy. Ken worked in mechanical maintenance, which was a good fit as this came naturally for him. He remained there for more than 30 years before retiring in 2004. Although work kept him busy, Ken made his family a priority. He was an active part of his girls’ lives, and he was there for nearly all of their events and activities.
Throughout his life Ken was a man of many interests. He was an avid outdoorsman who had a huge backyard with a large garden and some grapes that he enjoyed caring for. Ken also enjoyed fishing and often took his girls out fishing on smaller lakes with him when they were younger. He also did a bit of target shooting and enjoyed picnics in the woods. Ken was a steak and potatoes guy who also enjoyed farm food. He was a woodworker who worked with wood and stain, and he also worked with leaded glass, more recently started working on glass beads. Ken was into John Deere tractors and had a John Deere collection as well. He was a strong Republican who was so proud to have gotten his vote in before his death. Ken enjoyed reading various novels and also read about politics, farming, guns, and westerns. Although he and his wife were primarily homebodies, they did enjoy country drives and eating out at Big T’s in Lawton. They almost always had pets at home, and when it came to music Ken enjoyed bluegrass and gospel country with Johnny Cash being a favorite.
Later in life Ken continued to delight in his family. He was so proud to become a grandfather, and he treasured every moment he had to spend with his grandchildren who affectionately called him either “Grandpa” or “PaPa.” They loved it when he gave them rides on the tractors or took them for walks in the garden. Ken’s grandchildren also knew that he always had some sort of special snacks for them. Although no one really knew where his secret stash was, his great-granddaughter, Kara, did manage to find out. These were always the best salty junk foods like Pringles, Cheetos, and Fritos. Ken’s grandchildren also saw him as someone to confide in as they often told him things that they didn't tell anyone else.
All who knew Ken Washburn would agree that he was an extraordinary man to know and love. He was laid back and quiet, but he also didn’t shy away from speaking his mind at times. Ken was even keeled and managed to take everything in stride. It was easy to see that he treasured his family, and he also had a place in his heart for animals. A country boy through and through, Ken loved farming, fishing, and working with wood, but nothing was better than sharing the things he enjoyed with the people he cherished. Deeply loved, he will never be forgotten.
Ken’s family includes his wife, Judy Washburn; daughters, Kim (Scott) Simcox and Jen Washburn; 6 grandkids: Ashlee (Jordan) Rasmussen, Emilee Simcox, Britney Simcox, Kendra Simcox, Taylor Nondorf, Megan Nondorf; 2 great grandchildren: Kara, R. Ava R. and soon to have a 3rd; and brother, Ted (Linda), Kathy (Zane) Bradley, Wendy (Gary) Kaltschnee, Ken was preceded in death by his sister, Joann Verschoof, parents, and step-dad, John Holland. Visitation will be held on Monday from 4-6 at Betzler & Thompson Life Story Funeral Home. Service Tuesday 11 a.m. at Decatur Bible Church, Burial at Chamberlin Cemetery, Porter Twp. Luncheon at Decatur Bible Church. Memorials can be made to Decatur Bible Church.