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Kenneth Ellenberger

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Kenneth Ellenberger Obituary
Late in the evening of December 24, 2012, Kenneth Paul Ellenberger, of Lyons, Colorado, passed away in Pleasanton, California after hospitalization for pneumonia on December 11. For 87-and-a-half years Ken, known to close friends and family as "Red", lived a full, rich life as a positive example to others. His final choice was to leave this life showing his gathered family that he believed in life everlasting and that death should not be feared. Born in Omaha, Nebraska on June 22, 1925, the son of Sard and Lena Ellenberger and younger brother of Herb and Millie, Red enjoyed creating inventions, running and repairing his Lionel trains, and playing French horn. In high school, he directed the jazz band, participated in ROTC, and held his first real job as a bellman at the Hotel Fontenelle. In 1943, he enlisted in the Navy and was on a train headed for Farragut, Idaho to begin basic training on his 18th birthday. He earned nine battle stars in the Pacific Theatre of World War II, where he served as a Chief Petty Officer and Fire Controlman on the USS Wedderburn, a destroyer. When the war ended, he received an honorable discharge and returned home to his thankful family before he turned 21. Ken soon courting Shirley Joyce Stanosheck, the "little round-faced girl" who became his sweetheart and soulmate. They were married on April 2, 1948, and within eight years had become the parents of four daughters - Susan, Sarah, Mary, and Esther. In 1951, they moved to McCook, Nebraska where he supported his young family through sales and electronics-related employment, served as the youngest Worshipful Master of his Masonic Lodge, and was actively involved in the Congregational Church. Career opportunities in the early 1960's prompted relocation to the San Fernando Valley in California. He co-founded S&EI manufacturing there with his business partner, John Schlenker. Ken's natural abilities, naval electronics training, and previous work experience, in addition to graduate level courses at Cal Tech, were keys to the company's success. He served as the President and General Manager, designing and supervising the manufacture of specialized capacitor components for the government and private sector. Under his leadership, the name S&EI became preeminent for reliability and customer service for nearly thirty years. Retirement allowed Ken and Joyce to settle into their dream home in the Rockies. This period of their life was rich with the enjoyment of friends, involvement in the community, and hosting visits in their idyllic mountain setting. They were active members and assumed leadership roles in the Allenspark Community Church, Hilltop Guild, and Allenspark Area Club. Ken continued his avid interest in the collection and restoration of model trains, affiliating with model railroading organizations, attending meets, and searching for train bargains on eBay. Sports were another of his favorite diversions, and he delighted in watching them, especially when the 'Huskers, or Broncos, were winning. After Joyce suddenly passed away on October 1, 2007, Ken spent the winter months in California, living near or sharing a home with his daughter, Sarah. He treasured family visits and the opportunity to spend time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, whom he dearly loved. We had hoped that he would recover from his sudden illness, and are grieving the loss of our loving brother, father, grandfather, great grandfather, and friend. We will never forget the many virtues and strengths he modeled for us, and trust that we will be reunited one day. Ken's memorial service will be held at the Allenspark Community Church on Saturday, July 27. Memorial donations can be made to either the Allenspark Community Church or the Hilltop Guild in Ken's name. Ken Ellenberger is survived by his sister, Mildred Schoening of Omaha; daughters, Susan (Ron Seaman), Sarah Retsch, Mary Ellenberger, and Esther (Christos Sarantopoulos); grandchildren, Jessica Ingram (Mark Stevens), Lauren (Tom Bochnowski), Allison Ingram, Daniel Ingram (Jenevieve Riley), Margaret Retsch, Andrew Seaman (Carly), Emily (Nethaniel Ealy), and Aaron Seaman; and great-grandchildren, Jackson and Levi Stevens, Dane and Grant Bochnowski, (Riley Langford) Aubrey and Max Ingram, and Elodie Ealy.

Published in Longmont Times-Call on Feb. 9, 2013
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