Kenneth Retzer
1934 - 2020
{ "" }
Share Kenneth's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share

ARIZONA — Kenneth Leo Retzer (The Big Leaguer), age 86, passed away Sunday, May 17, 2020 at his home in Sun City, Arizona.

He was born April 30, 1934 in Wood River, Illlinois, to Joseph Felix and Lena Augusta (Fields) Retzer.

The youngest of seven, he is survived by his sister, Shirley Spann, of Roxana. Illinois. Also surviving are his wife, Janet (Clark/Lewis) Retzer of Sun City; his daughter, Merry Lena ("D.J.") Board and their daughter Jessica Lena of Lakeside, Califonia; his son, Steven (Janessa) Retzer of Scottsdale, Arizona; and step-son, Brian (Lisa) Lewis of Godfrey, Illinois; along with numerous nieces and nephews.

Ken was a proud former major league baseball player for the Washington Senators, following several years in the minor leagues. One of his biggest honors was catching the opening day pitch from President John F. Kennedy back in 1963. He never met a stranger that he didn't ask, "Where are you from initially?" Whatever the answer, it almost always led into a baseball memory for all to share.

He worked several jobs over the years, including owning his own restaurant "Retzer's Home Plate" in San Diego, California, a racquetball instructor at Alton Nautilus, and eventually retiring as a juvenile transportation driver in Edwardsville, Illinois.

He kept busy in retirement corresponding with baseball fans across the country.

Per his request, no memorial services are planned.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Telegraph from May 18 to May 19, 2020.
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
9 entries
July 31, 2020
Sorry to hear about Ken's passing. I played corkball with him the summer when Ken lived in Vandalia, Missouri. I have often wondered where Ken went after his baseball career. We really enjoyed his friendship.
alan williams
May 23, 2020
I would thank Ken for giving me his autograph as a player for the Indianapolis Indians.
Asking God to give his blessings and graces in the days ahead to Ken's family.
Michael Dugan
May 21, 2020
Kens enthusiasm for life, family, baseball, golf and racquetball made him a standout guy and a good friend. He will long be remembered by all that met him. My thoughts are with his wife Janet and son Steve
Bill Moser
May 21, 2020
Didn't know Ken but,remember he gave me a ride to to the airport.He was talking about catching President Kennedy 1st pitch opening day.It was cool listening to his story.Always will remember him and have told the story to many people.Bless his family and friends.You have lost a great person.
May 19, 2020
So sorry for your loss. Im Kennys cousin. Kenny was special to my parents, his Uncle Jesse and Aunt Julia. They visited often when they and Kenny lived in Edwardsville. My dad especially enjoyed sharing baseball stories. May you be comforted by so many good memories.
Joyce Gusewelle
May 19, 2020
So sorry to read of your loss. My Father, Wayne Simpson spoke highly of Ken.Prayers and Peace to your family!
Karen Wedding
May 19, 2020
Love and prayers to Ken's family and friends in this time of deep sorrow, especially his loving wife Janet.
Ike Futch
May 18, 2020
I would like to tell you how very sorry I am of the passing of Kenny I met Kenny and his wife when they would come in Dierbergs grocery store I am a cashier there and almost every day he would come in. He tells stories about his past he make us laugh and he had one heckuva laugh Ill tell you that. Can you gave us autographed pictures I was looking at one the other day in his boy uniform. One day he told me about him working at Belk Park come to find out when my son was Younger he worked at the park along with Kenny and Kenny remembered him too. Ive often wondered how Kenny and his wife are doing. I was very surprised when I just now went online and found this. I want to tell you he was someone Ill never forget. He had a wonderful personality Ill keep you in my thoughts and my prayers again my deepest condolences to the family
May 18, 2020
A great friend and Best Man at my wedding Spring Training 2017. He signed autographs for the judge & guests. Loved baseball.
Rollie Loewen
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences