Brigadier General Kincheon Varner "Ken" Combs, 77, of Gulfport died Tuesday, February 13, 2007 in Gulfport.
He was born April 22, 1929 to Robert and Mary Combs and was the oldest of 7 children. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps at age 17. While enrolled at Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, MS, he joined the Army National Guard and his unit was activated during the Korean Conflict where he spent 9 months in Japan.
He later continued his education at Jones County J.C. and Mississippi State University where he received a degree in Civil Engineering. Mr. Combs also attended the U.S. Army Engineer Officer School, the U.S. Army Engineer Advanced Officer School, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
During the late 1950s and early 1960s, he was a Captain in the Army National Guard and was the Engineer Officer for the State of Mississippi, with his office in the State Capitol Building in Jackson, MS. In 1965, he moved to Gulfport where he became the Base Civil Engineer at the Air National Guard Training Site.
After many years as the Base Civil Engineer and promotions to Major, Lt. Colonel, and Colonel, he was appointed Commander of the Air National Guard Training Site until his retirement in 1989, retiring as Brigadier General, U.S.A.F. Other appointments or positions held during his years in the National Guard were as follows: Vice-President of the Air National Guard Association, 1972-73, Director of National Guard Association of MS, 1977-79, appointed to Executive Council of National Guard Association of the United States, 1985.
Immediately upon retirement from the Air National Guard in 1989, he began to pursue the Office of Mayor, Gulfport, MS. He was elected to his first term as Mayor in 1989 and served until 1993 and then was re-elected to his second consecutive term in 1993 and served until 1997.
Mr. Combs worked for the Public Service Commission between 1997-2000 with his office being in Biloxi. He was again elected Mayor of Gulfport in 2001. Other appointments or positions held and awards/recognitions include: served on the Boy Scouts Pine Burr Area Council where he received their highest honor, the Silver Beaver Award for Distinguished Service to Boyhood, from the National Court of Honor of the Boy Scouts of America, 1971.
He also served on the Girl Scouts Pine Burr Area Council, recipient of the Paul Harris Award by the Gulfport Rotary Club, was the Director of Gulfport Civil Service Commission, past president of the Gulfport School System Board of Education, and past president of the Gulf Coast Crime Commission.
He was honored by Mayor Bob Short and the City of Gulfport when the Courthouse Road Pier was renamed the Ken Combs Pier.
Since 1966, Mr. Combs was an active member of Trinity United Methodist Church and served on numerous church committees and boards.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Mary Combs Brown; father, Robert Combs; 2 sisters, Phyllis Combs and Deloris Combs, and an infant granddaughter, Carrye Anna Longino.
Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Nita Combs; 3 daughters, Cathy Combs Longino, Carol Combs Smith, and Frances Combs McGuire, all of Gulfport; 2 sons, Lt. Col. Robert V. "Bob" (Bobbi Helms) Combs, Ret., Woodbridge, VA, and Ken (Edie Waltman) Combs, Jr., Gulfport, MS; 11 grandchildren, Houston Longino, Starkville, MS, Rob Combs, Richmond, VA, Carl Combs, Farmville, VA, Cory Combs, Woodbridge, VA, Scott Smith, Gulfport, Nic (Lauren) Smith, Gulfport, Christina (Jory) Combs Trosclair, Biloxi, Jourdyn Combs, Cleveland, MS, Ken Combs, III, Gulfport, MS, Trace McGuire, Starkville, MS, and Jeffrey McGuire, Oxford, MS; 2 great-grandchildren, Tyler Smith and Braydon Smith, both of Gulfport; 4 sisters, Mrs. Frances (Steve) Newton, Carrollton, GA, Mrs. Joyce (Bob) Ballard, Lake Wylie, SC, Mrs. Corile (Charles) James, Wedowee, AL, and Mrs. Mary Ann (Terry) Lambert, Oxford, AL; 2 brothers, Bob (Cookie) Combs, Hinesville, GA, and Julian (Sue) Whitten, Dadeville, AL; and numerous nieces and nephews located across the United States.
To name every accomplishment, service, award, honor, or recognition throughout this remarkable lifetime would be impossible. But, the most outstanding thing of all is that he started at the bottom and, on his very own, made himself the person that he was with the support and confidence that others had in him along the way. And with the success he made, and the work he never put aside, he was still the very best husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend anyone could ever have.
Visitation will be Saturday, February 17, 2007 from 9-11 a.m. The funeral service will begin at 11 a.m.
Interment will be in Floral Hills Memorial Gardens where Full Military Honors will be rendered by the Mississippi National Guard followed by Masonic Rites.
Other Honor Guards will include the Gulfport Police Department, Gulfport Fire Department, U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Air Force.
Memorials may be sent to Feed My Sheep, P.O. Box 6883, Gulfport, MS 39506 or Trinity United Methodist Church.
The Riemann family's GULF COAST FUNERAL HOME, Three Rivers Road Chapel, Gulfport is in charge of arrangements and an online guestbook may be signed at www.gulfcoastfh.com.