Kenneth's Story

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A native of Apollo, Pennsylvania, Kenneth Klingensmith adopted Duncan as his home and raised six children here.
From Apollo, where the name KLINGENSMITH was as common as JONES, Ken and his wife Bernadine came to Duncan complete with a Yankee accent and a "funny" name. They began to spell out K-L-I-N-G-E-N-S-M-I-T-H immediately in response to puzzled looks and they chuckled at the many spelling variations that resulted nonetheless. Ken loved and embraced Duncan and Duncan loved and embraced him in return. After his work as a petroleum engineer took Ken to Libya and Scotland for almost a decade, he and Bernadine returned to Duncan where he lived continuously until he lost a valiantly-fought seven year battle with Lymphoma on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, at the age of 89.
The family invites friends to join us in celebrating the life of this very special man who touched so many with kindness, humor and bit-of-a-rascal nature. Funeral services will be 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017 at First Baptist Church Chapel with paster Brian Pain offcatin and assited by the Rev. Randy Southerland, interment at Duncan Cemetery. Services are under the direction of Don Grantham Funeral Home.
Ken graduated from high school in Apollo, Pennsylvania, and received his bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. For two decades, Ken worked for Halliburton Services and for a decade-and-a-half for Mobil Oil, where he was honored for his ability to increase oil flow from a number of recalcitrant North Sea wells. But, he was most proud of his family and his service to God.
Father to Barbara Spess (Rick), Tom (Glenda), Debbie Robeson (Loyd), Linda Winant (Ralph), Peggy Binzel (Paul Opalack) and John (Carol); Ken was truly beloved. He always had a smile and a kind word, no matter the circumstances. Ken's joy also included his twelve grandchildren, Mindy (Leighann), Marsha Crum, Patrick, Julie Cunningham (Bill), Rusty Robeson (Gwen), Amy, Haley, Billy, Jorden, and Journey Winant, Lisa Martin (Caleb), and Collin; his ten great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
Ken's sense of humor brought laughter to friends, colleagues and family alike. Ken always had a practical joke up his sleeve - never mean-spirited but always mischievous and hilarious. And, he got more than a few practical jokes played on him in return - he could hardly complain. Family dinners were lively. In fact, Bernadine frequently threatened to banish Ken from the dinner table for stirring up fits of giggling among his six children. The family invites friends to share your memories of Ken in his role as practical-joker-in-chief.
Ken gave back to Duncan, serving on the Duncan School Board, including a term as President. He participated in civic organizations, including the Lions Club. Ken was honored to serve as a deacon at both Duncan's Immanuel and First Baptist Churches. His real passion, though, was teaching his Sunday school classes. At Immanuel, Ken started the first "couples" Sunday school class because he understood that, for many, a couples class setting was more comfortable and, therefore, a better way to minister.
Until recent months, Ken taught a men's Sunday school class at the First Baptist Church. His love of ministering through the word of God is another part of what made him special. But, Ken was no pushover. When it came to life, he did it "his way."
Ken loved hunting, fishing, gardening and golf. He never let a minute of life go by without living it to the fullest extent that his health allowed. At the age of 88, Ken shot the family Thanksgiving turkey.
In fact, he bagged two turkeys with one shot - not once but twice.
Regular golf with his lifelong friends was a source of enjoyment and fellowship, but it didn't hurt that Ken hit his first two holes-in-one after age seventy! Ken loved to fish with his sons John and Tom.
Somehow in the fishing photos, Ken always ended up with the small fish while John sported the big one. It became a family joke: Photograph after photograph showing Ken and his small fish posed next to John and his big fish.
Ken loved his garden, too. Homegrown tomatoes were at the top of his list of the best things in life. Well into his eighties, Ken enrolled in gardening classes and earned his Master Gardner certification. He loved to share his gardens bounty with friends. He often joked that friends went running in the other direction when they spotted him with yet more squash in tow.
Ken also loved poetry, from Scottish ballads and lyrics to children's rhymes. Ken was fond of saying that he "enjoyed all his children." And, his children warmly recall growing up surrounded by games, children's books and rhymes, including his favorite silly children's ditty - There Was an Old Man from Ware Who Road on the Back of a Bear.
Following the death of Bernadine, Ken married the former Joyce Scott with whom he created a new chapter in life. Ken was preceded in death by his wife Bernadine and also his wife Joyce.
Pallbearers include sons Tom and John, son-in-laws Loyd Robeson and Ralph Winant, grandsons Patrick Klingensmith, Collin Klingensmith and Rusty Robeson and grandson-in-law Caleb Martin. Son-in-law Rick Spess will serve as honorary pallbearer.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to the First Baptist Church building fund.
Condolences may be left at www.granthamfuneralhomes.com.
Published on January 13, 2017
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