July 19, 2019
Longtime Kelso resident William Keneth Koenig, age 90, passed away early Friday morning, July 19, in Bellingham, WA, following a brief illness. Known to his many friends as Ken, he was born in Foster County, ND, to parents Robert and Frances Koenig. The Depression years led to the loss of the farm, and in 1937 he lived with various relatives until being moved to his brother Aloysius Koenig’s home in New York City. Ken attended school in New York City until his sister Rita and husband Ransom Robbins moved him to their home in Moundridge, KS, where Ken graduated from Moundridge High School in 1943. He attended one semester at Kansas University, then joined the U.S. Marine Corps and was waiting for deployment at the time of the Japanese surrender, thus returning Ken to civilian life.
Ken stayed on the West Coast and graduated from St. Martin’s University in Lacey, WA, in 1953 with a B.A. in Sociology and Psychology. Ken was employed that year as an elementary school teacher in Kelso, WA. While in Kelso, he studied and received a master’s degree in education in 1982. Throughout his adult life, Ken continued scholarly sessions through participation in available studies and love of travel. One summer, he joined a geodetic ocean mapping ship crew in order to travel the North Pacific Aleutian Islands. Ken has visited the Holy Land in Israel. He taught elementary school on a U.S. Army Base in Germany where, on weekends, he could travel to various European sites. Ken’s travels throughout Canada and the U.S. kept him with Koenig aunts and uncles, as well as brothers and sisters. Ken had a passion for Ireland and Irish writers whom he visited while traveling the backroads of Ireland. He made many friends while enjoying various Irish brews at many pubs.
During his time in Kelso, Ken was very active at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church and was known to volunteer his time at the parish. He is still remembered fondly by many parishioners as well as many students and teachers in the Kelso School District.
A Memorial Mass will be offered at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Kelso on Monday, Aug. 12, at 6 p.m. Former Immaculate Heart pastor, Fr. John Madigan, will preside. The parishioners of Immaculate Heart would love to welcome anyone who remembers Ken and his contributions to the community.