2 entries
  • "A truly gifted engineer and a good friend for many years. I..."
    - Gary WayMire
  • "Thank you Ken. A quiet but steady voice of reason in the..."
    - Scott Mueggler
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KENNETH RING MERCKX Hillcrest Memorial Center After a long and mighty battle with Parkinson's Disease, Kenneth Ring Merckx was granted final peace at age 90 on July 26, 2016 at Brookdale Canyon Lakes in Kennewick. Ken was a gifted mechanical engineer and one of the top experts in the world on low cycle fatigue of reactor components and fuel elements. As a husband and father, he was loving and as dependable as the sun rising in the morning. Ken was always on the movebiking to work, playing tennis, golf, and iron-man gardening. He enjoyed traveling and always studied the language of the country he was visiting. The Merckx family home was often papered in sticky notes with the names of common household items in different languages. He also played a mean game of bridge, dabbled at wood carving and was quite a dancer in his day. Ken was born in Chicago and was a completely adored only child. During the Depression his family moved to Upper Peninsula Michigan where they lived in a cabin fashioned out of telephone poles on Bat Lake, 12 miles from the nearest store. He fondly remembered the family closeness of this time. As a boy he imagined himself to be part Daniel Boonetrapping rabbits and squirrels, hauling water to the cabin, picking berries and fishing; and part Tarzanswinging from vines, diving from boulders and swimming the lakes. After graduating as valedictorian from Lake Forest High School, Ken joined the Army decoding messages for the Signal Corps Air Base in Carlsberg, Germany. In 1950 he attended Northwestern on the GI bill where he earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering and subsidized his living expenses by playing guitar, banjo and the mandolin in a local band. He then went to Stanford for his Masters and PhD and later attended MIT for post-doctoral studies in Physical Metallurgy. Ken moved to Richland in 1953 where he began his nuclear career as a Research Associate for General Electric. He later worked for Battelle, Westinghouse, and Exxon. He retired from Advanced Nuclear Fuels in 1991. In 1954 he met a beautiful red head named Rosemary at a ski club party on the Columbia River. They were married a year later and began their life together raising a family of four. Favorite family activities included enjoying raspberry waffles on the covered sundeck, hosting the annual Hudson Avenue caroling party and vacations to the Oregon Coast. Together, Ken and Rosemary shared a passion for gardening and travel. They lived together in Richland for almost 60 years until the progression of Parkinson's made it necessary to move to the Manor at Canyon Lakes where they have made many new wonderful friends. The family will always appreciate the assisted living staff at the Manor who took such tender care of Ken and also the kindness and expertise of the caregivers from Heartlinks Hospice. Ken was preceded in death by his parents Francis and Dorothy Merckx and daughter Dianne. He is survived by his wife of 62 years Rosemary Merckx; son Bruce Hoeger of Crockett, CA; daughter Jennifer Fisher (Brad) of Richland; and son Kenneth Ring Merckx Jr. (Gretchen) of Altadena, CA. He is also survived by grandchildren Kristen, Zachary, Quinci, Mia, Hunter, Hudson, Haven, Chelsea and Lindsey. A celebration of life will be held Saturday, August 13 at the Brookdale Canyon Lakes facility starting at 3:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that gifts be made to for Parkinson's Research, Heartlinks Hospice, or the Columbia Basin College Foundation. For online condolences please visit
Funeral Home
Hillcrest Memorial Center:
9353 W. Clearwater Ave.
Kennewick, WA 99336
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Published in Tri-City Herald from Aug. 7 to Aug. 10, 2016
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