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Kenneth Arthur Johnsen


1951 - 2018 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Kenneth Arthur Johnsen Obituary
Kenneth Arthur Johnsen

Des Moines, IA - Des Moines has lost an adventurer, a bon vivant, and a true friend. Kenneth Arthur Johnsen died last week on his sailboat in Mystic Harbor, Connecticut. He was 66. Born on October 18th, 1951, in Council Bluffs, Ken spent most of his life in Des Moines working as an attorney in private practice. An unpretentious gentleman who shunned the spotlight, Ken was nonetheless very active in the service of his clients and friends. He worked tirelessly on behalf of Iowans in his specialty of social security/disability law and was a mentor in Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Greater Des Moines. Ken was a competitive athlete throughout his life and earned third place in his age group in last summer's Des Moines Escape Triathlon. A diehard baseball fan, Ken could be found every summer cheering on the Chicago Cubs at his favorite Des Moines watering holes, including Sully's, Greenwood Tap, Wellman's Pub, Yacht Club, and Ladder 13. In 1981, Ken found his life companion in Kristen Nassif when the two won a dancing competition on the night they met. In their decades together, Ken and Kris shared a home, a loving family, and far-flung adventures on their sailboat, "The Kristy Sue." Ken's love of sailing is legendary, a passion that took him from Saylorville Lake to the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean islands. He convinced friends, both seasoned and not-so-seasoned, to crew with him on journeys of hundreds of miles in open seas, leaving many weary and seasick even as Ken teed up his next trip. Ken's warm smile and generous heart will be dearly missed by his family and many friends. Ken is preceded in death by his parents Arthur and Vera Johnson, dear friends Newell and Ardell Roberts, and beloved German Shorthaired Pointer Clyde. He is survived by his partner Kristen Nassif of Des Moines; sister Joyce Burney of Hallandale Beach, FL; brother Ron Johnsen of Columbus, OH; nieces Martha, Ruth and Christina; nephews James and Josh; step-daughter Allison Gioelli (Brian); step-son Jake Nassif (Sarah) of Minneapolis; and step-grandchildren Johanna, Charley, Gene and Olive. All are welcome to join a celebration of Ken's life at 6pm on Saturday, July 14th at the Waveland Clubhouse at 4908 University Ave. in Des Moines. Memorials may be directed to .
Published in Des Moines Register from June 10 to June 11, 2018
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