STRONG, Kenneth C. Ken Strong died peacefully on December 29th, 2019 at his home in Riverview Terrace accompanied by his eldest daughter and his faithful dog, Buddy. He was born on December 14, 1928 in Spokane, WA, the youngest of three boys to William E. Strong, Sr. and Helen (Helga) E. Strong (Christianson). Ken attended Rogers High School and was a track star, excelling in the high jump. He graduated in January of 1947. Ken met the love of his life, Doris Holmes, during his senior year and they married on October 21, 1948. They had four children together. Ken worked for 7 1/2 years as a yard man at Hillyard Railroad in Northeast Spokane, before joining the Spokane Fire Department. Feeling the call to try his hand in sales, after a few years he resigned his job, sold his home, and took the opportunity to move his young family to the East Coast. He spent 2 years as a door-to-door salesman of Renaware Cookware. Eventually he brought his family back to Spokane and returned to his job as a Firefighter. He served 30 years with the Spokane Fire Department, some of them as an EMT, and retired as a Lieutenant in 1987. Ken also served 17 years as Union President of Local 29 of the International Association of Firefighters. He was proudly a life-long member of the labor movement. From Ken's early days, one of the joys of his life was singing. He sang for 50 years with the Spokane Barbershop Chorus. During those years he sang bass with many quartets, including "Yellow Jackets" and "Four the Good Times". Many of those years he would serve as Master of Ceremonies of the annual Spring show, something he thoroughly enjoyed. Ken was a life-long member of Salem Lutheran Church. Throughout his 91 years, he was a strong presence in the Salem Community and had a heart for their neighbors in West Central Spokane. In 1965, Ken served as a part-time staff member, building relationships between the congregation and the community and providing open gym time for the neighborhood children. Ken served the congregation as Council member, Assisting Minister, Lector, and of course, singing bass in Salem's choir. Ken was a good friend to many, a loving father to his four children, and a loving husband to his life-long partner, Doris. You always knew where Ken stood on issues. Yet even when there were times of disagreement, his heart wouldn't let him do anything but protect and support those he loved. We kids always knew Dad had our back. Ken was preceded in death by his parents, his two brothers, Bill Jr. and Don Strong, a grandson, Tyler Baker, and his wife, Doris Strong. Ken is survived by his four children, Cheri (Paul) Nelson, Larry (Kari) Strong, Marilyn Strong (Jerry Wennstrom), and Wayne Strong; his sister-in-law, Diane Barr; 7 nieces and nephews, 7 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at 2:00pm on Saturday, January 25th at Salem Lutheran Church, 1428 W. Broadway in Spokane. In lieu of flowers, a memorial may be sent to Salem Lutheran Church or a local animal rescue of your choice.
Published in Spokesman-Review from Jan. 8 to Jan. 12, 2020.