Kenneth Frank Gengenbacher passed away on Jan. 16, 2016. His failing body released his soul to the great baseball game in the sky where he will get to watch his beloved Saint Louis Cardinals play for eternity. Kenneth was born on Feb. 18, 1937, in Quincy, Illinois, to Ed and Vera Gengenbacher. He grew up hunting and fishing with his three brothers and two sisters along the banks of the Mississippi River.
He served his country in the Air Force, where he was selected for the Air Force Honor Guard. The highlight of his service was marching in the second inaugural parade for Dwight D. Eisenhower in January 1957 and being a guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. He also worked as a civilian in the Department of Defense at the Pentagon.
Ken had his first daughter, Tina, while working in Washington D.C. with his first wife, Peggy Parker. Ken and Tina shared a love of music, which harkens back to the era of reel-to-reel. He was later transferred to Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado, where he met his second wife, Linda Best. Together they welcomed two children, Derek and Amanda. He retired in 1992 and moved his family to Montana where he travelled around the state watching Derek play basketball, and Mandy shoot pistol in shooting competitions. He taught his children how to be independent, resourceful and stubborn, and instilled in them a good work ethic. They teased him mercilessly about his phobia of heights while traveling the many high mountainous roads of Colorado and Montana. He was a man who was never wrong on any subject or in any circumstance. He loved all things Christmas and local parades. He enjoyed Yellowstone National Park, watching the Bobcats on Saturday afternoons, rooting against the Duke Blue Devils in college basketball, playing Pinochle, and the occasional Budweiser or Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.
He is survived by his devoted wife of 35 years, Linda Best Gengenbacher of Bozeman, Montana, and his three children, Tina Gengenbacher and her husband Richard Smith of Windsor, Colorado, Derek Gengenbacher and his wife Lacee George of Bozeman, Montana, and Amanda Gengenbacher of Bozeman, Montana. Ken also had three amazing grandchildren, Riley Smith, Nickolas Gengenbacher, Adeline Gengenbacher, plus a grandson on the way. He is survived by his sister, Shirley Dingerson of Colorado, and his three brothers and their wives, Gerald and Evelyn Gengenbacher, Richard and Mary Lou Gengenbacher, all of Illinois and Robert and Donna Gengenbacher of Iowa.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. www.dokkennelson.com
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Jan. 21, 2016