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Kenneth Townsend Ackerson

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Kenneth Townsend Ackerson Obituary
Kenneth Townsend Ackerson

Pompano Beach - Ken Ackerson passed away at John Knox Village in Pompano Beach, Florida, early on Sunday morning, December 3, 2017. He would have celebrated his 99th birthday on December 11, 2017. Ken was blessed with a long and wonderful life. He was loved and will be missed by sons Jeffrey and Neal, and daughters Sandra and Virginia, and by ten grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. Charlotte, his wife of 69 years, passed away in 2012. Ken was born on the family homestead in Holmdel, New Jersey, where he and his brother Earle were raised by his mother, Helen, and his father, John. He was an outstanding student who also showed a keen interest in music from an early age. He began playing piano for the Dutch Reformed Church of Keyport, NJ at age 11, and by the time he graduated from college he was the church's regular organist for the Dutch Reformed Church of Keyport, NJ. His father relied on his help to work the farm and to get the produce they grew in their fields to the markets in New York City for many years. His interest in agriculture continued when he enrolled in Rutgers College and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture in 1941. He joined the U. S. Department of Agriculture's Soil Conservation Service following college, then entered the Army prior to the start of World War II. He married Charlotte Zucker, literally "the girl next door," in 1943 while in uniform. Ken served as a military intelligence officer with the Army Corps of Engineers at Camp Ritchie, MD, as well as in the Philippines, rising to the rank of Captain by the time his service concluded at the end of World War II. Following the war, Ken resumed his career as a soil scientist with the Soil Conservation Service, taking assignments in Delaware and Cobleskill, NY. Ken, Charlotte, and their first child, Jeffrey, then moved to East Aurora, New York, where Ken also played the organ for the First Baptist Church. While living in East Aurora, they celebrated the births of their next two children, Sandra and Virginia. In 1955, Ken and Charlotte were transferred to the Washington, D.C., area where Ken continued to work for the Department of Agriculture. As a specialist in world soils, Ken traveled to Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa for his work with the World Soil Map Project. Ken and Charlotte lived in Silver Spring, Maryland, where their youngest child, Neal, was born. They became members of the Silver Spring United Presbyterian Church, where Ken became the organist. They continued to reside in Silver Spring until Ken's retirement from the government after 44 years of service in 1985. Ken and Charlotte soon moved to Florida and resided in Lighthouse Point until joining the community at John Knox Village in Pompano, Beach, Florida, in 2003. They were among the first residents of Heritage Towers when it opened.

Ken was an avid gardener and photographer throughout his life. His primary interest, however, was music. As work took him to new places, he always found a church home that could benefit from his talents on the organ. His musical skill was recognized at John Knox, too, where he continued to play the organ for various services until he was 96. While he lived at John Knox, he also rekindled an interest in stained glass and produced several pieces that have become treasures for his family. Ken is survived by sons and daughters-in-law Jeffrey and Sharon Ackerson, and Neal and Renee Ackerson; by daughters and sons-in-law Sandra and John Goddard, and Virginia and Chuck Flynn; by grandchildren Matthew, Erin, Laura, Tom, Wayne, Craig, Kristin, John, Peter, Maureen; and by 15 great-grandchildren. The family is deeply grateful to the staff at John Knox Village for the unwavering support they provided during the last years of Ken's life. A memorial service for Ken's family and friends will be held at The First Presbyterian Church of Pompano Beach on Saturday, December 9, 2017, at 2:00pm. The family requests donations to the Columbarium Fund of the First Presbyterian Church of Pompano Beach in lieu of flowers.
Published in Asbury Park Press on Dec. 8, 2017
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