Kenneth Kennedy Koth was born March 25, 1921, in Jamestown, N.D., the son of Gustave and Margaret (Lutz) Koth. He attended school in Jamestown and graduated from Jamestown High School in 1939.
The Evangelical Church in Jamestown was an influential part of his life, and at the age of 12, Ken repented of his sins and received Christ as his Savior.
After high school, he worked as a meat cutter at the National Tea Market in Jamestown. He attended Jamestown College for one year and then transferred to Western Union College in Le Mars in 1941.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in February 1943. He trained as a radar mechanic and served in Italy. After peace was declared in Europe, he was stationed in Casablanca, Morocco, North Africa where he served as a flight attendant, flying veterans home from Europe and the Middle East. He served until he was honorably discharged in October of 1945.
He returned to Western Union College in Le Mars and graduated in 1947.
During his college and military years he was searching for God's direction in his life. The influence of college friends, prayer, meditation and the ministry of Dr. G.O. Thompson helped him consider the ministry. In his last year of college at Western Union, he served the Evangelical United Brethren (E.U.B.) church in Beresford, S.D.
Ken was united in marriage to Virginia Rau, a fellow Western Union student, in McLaughlin, S.D., on Aug. 18, 1947.
They went to Western Evangelical Seminary in Jennings Lodge, Ore.
He served the Capital Hill Methodist Church in Portland, Ore., during seminary. He served E.U.B. churches in Tappen/Medina, N.D.; Cavalier, N.D.; and Jamestown N.D. -- a total of 18 years in North Dakota.
They moved to Oregon in 1968 and served the Oregon City Evangelical Church until retiring in 1986. During retirement, they also served the Vernonia and Canby, Ore., churches for a total of 25 years of ministry in Oregon.
They moved to Le Mars in 1994 and Ken served as associate pastor of the Le Mars Bible Church, with a weekly ministry in the nursing homes.
In 2004, Ken became a resident of Brentwood Good Samaritan in Le Mars (now Good Samaritan Society-Le Mars). While there he continued conducting chapel services, Bible studies and other ministries.
Through the years Ken enjoyed fishing, golfing, reading and writing. He had a love of the outdoors.
Ken had a deep personal relationship with Christ and a genuine love for people. His life was characterized by giving to others. His greatest desire was that his family and friends would come to know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. To those who knew Ken, he was simply "the real deal."
He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Virginia; three daughters Kamille (Fred) Gums of Le Mars, Joy (Mike) Odom of Milwaukie, Ore., and Brenda (Mark) Koth-Kolpitcke of LaCrosse, Wis.; two grandchildren: Dave (Kathy) Gums of Clear Lake, S.D. and Marie Gums of Kyrgyzstan; two step-grandchildren: Ben (Adrian) Kolpitcke and Katie Kolpitcke; seven great-grandchildren: Lily, Daniel, Joanna and Deborah Gums and Emma, Maija and Xavier Kolpitcke.
Ken was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Clayton, of Le Mars; four sisters: Esther Koth of Portland, Ore., Dacotah Dutton of Portland, Ore., Gertrude Henry of Stromberg, Mont., and Marian Koth of Clearwater, Fla.
Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. Friday at the Le Mars Bible Church with Pastor Fred Gums and Pastor Mike Hulinsky officiating. Internment will be at Resthaven Memory Gardens Cemetery, rural Le Mars. Visitation with the family present will be after 4 p.m. Thursday at the Le Mars Bible Church followed by a 7 p.m. prayer service Thursday evening. Visitation will continue Friday morning from 9:30 a.m. until service time.
Pallbearers will be Dave Gums, Mike Odom, Mark Kolpitcke, Derald Philips, Cecil Yoder, and Jim Conley.
Expressions of sympathy may be extended to the family through www.carlsenfuneralhome.com.
"God is good, His mercy is everlasting and His truth endures to all generations." Psalm 100:5.
"Seek Him with all your heart while you can." Isaiah 55:6.