Dr. Kenneth E. Harrell, Sr., passed away at his home in Niceville, Fla., on Nov. 23, 2012, at the age of 80. He was born on April 1, 1932, in Wayne County, N.C. Ken attended Ponce deLeon High School in Coral Gables, Fla., and graduated from Neville High School in Monroe, La. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Southeastern Louisiana College, and earned his Master of Arts and doctorate from Louisiana State University. Ken served his county in the Coast Guard Reserves, the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserves.
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Ken pursued an academic career at Murray State University (Kentucky) where he was a professor of History, chairman of the History Department, dean of both the Graduate School and the College of Humanistic Studies. While at Murray State University, he chaired various committees including the Committee on Institutional Studies & Research (1971-1980), the Restoration of Wrather Hall Museum, and Murray State University's Campus United Way Fund Drive.
He served on the Editorial Board of the University Press of Kentucky from 1971 to 1991 and the Kentucky National Historical Records Commission; edited The Public Papers of Governor Edward T. Breathitt, 1963 to 1967; and contributed to Kentucky's Governors, 1972 to 1985. Ken was a member of the Southern and American Historical Associations, and was named to Who's Who and Who's Who in American Scholars.
Mentoring students was an important part of Ken's life. He served as advisor to the Veterans' Club, Murray State University Student Government Association, and the Zeta Lambda chapter of ATO. He was twice selected by students as teacher of the year.
Ken was a member and served as chairman of the Board of Deacons, First Presbyterian Church, Murray, Ky. He chaired the Construction Committee at Oaks Country Club in 1964 and served as its president in 1965. He was also a member of the Murray Country Club. He enjoyed family, friends, golf, tennis and rebuilding Ford Thunderbirds. Ken believed passionately in free speech, academic integrity, hard work and generosity toward his fellow man.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Ernest and Inez Harrell, and a brother, Eugene Harrell. Survivors include his wife, Ellen White Harrell; son, Kenneth E. Harrell, Jr. (Molly); daughter, Lisa Harrell Alpaugh (Saunders); grandchildren, Ellen and Saunders Alpaugh, Sam Harrell, Katherine Hoag (Ryan), William Wolf (Megan); three great-grandchildren; sister, Genevieve Hauck; brother, Jimmy Harrell (Jeri); sisters-in-law, Carolyn Ibert and Joan Harrell; and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family wishes to express appreciation to Dr. Ann Gwinnup, the doctors and staff of Emerald Coast Cancer Center, Dr. Alex Rusynyk, Sacred Heart Hospital and Covenant Hospice.
A memorial service will be held at St. Jude's Episcopal Church, 200 N. Partin, Niceville, Fla., on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 10 a.m., followed by a reception in the fellowship hall.
Expressions of sympathy may be made in the form of contributions to St. Jude's Episcopal Church, 200 N. Partin, Niceville, FL 32578, or Covenant Hospice, 101 Hart Street, Niceville, FL 32578.
Published Online in Northwest Florida Daily News from Nov. 29 to Nov. 30, 2012