Paul Henry Kenck
May 15, 1925 ~ May 27, 2014
On May 27, 2014, Paul Henry Kenck, 89, left this life for the next after a long battle with cancer. Paul was a giant of a man, and he epitomized what it meant to be part of the greatest generation. He played a supporting role in many major historical events. But, if he were to select his greatest achievements, he would likely-and rightfully-chalk them up as those wrought within the walls of his own home.
Paul was born on May 15, 1925, in Wilmar, CA. As a child, he moved to Pearblossom, CA. Early on, he cultivated a passion of working with his hands. At the age of 15, he helped his father build their stone house. His talent for working with his hands would be evident when, at age 19, he maintained and serviced generators for the Army in Italy during World War II. He cherished his leave spent in the family ancestral land of Switzerland and often dreamed of returning. In 1949, he was introduced to a young school teacher named Bettie Lou Bennett. Their romance quickly kindled, and they were married in 1951. Their love and loyalty towards each other only grew as time went on, and it remains one of the greatest lessons they taught us.
Paul’s mechanical ability led to various jobs throughout the west. He worked with locomotives in Auburn, WA for a brief time. Then, he moved to Edwards Air Force Base in California to start work for the newly-formed NASA program. He was part of the recovery team for the experimental X-15 rocket-propelled plane and even carpooled with the X-15’s most famous pilot, Neil Armstrong. In 1969, Paul and his family moved to Washington State, where he began work for the Federal Aviation Administration. While working for the FAA, Paul and Bettie were introduced to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They both were baptized, as well as many of their children. Paul cherished his membership in the church, and he found peace and happiness in its teachings. He held many positions in the church, and throughout them all he exemplified honesty, integrity, and service. In 1978, he transferred to Chief Joseph Dam in preparation to retire to Chelan. Not surprisingly, retirement didn’t sit well with Paul, and he was soon working again as a truck driver and a bus driver.
Paul had a love of genealogy. He served 12 years as Family History Director for Chelan Branch (now Chelan Ward). He was a charter member of Chelan Valley Genealogical Society and, in 2009, was recognized by the Washington State Genealogical Society for outstanding volunteer service.
With Paul, there were no gray areas; right was right, and wrong was wrong. His actions strictly followed that pattern. His friendly, approachable manner meant that his trips to the store for something as simple as a box of nails could take hours. He loved to help his children and grandchildren with their own household or mechanical projects, and payment-although never requested-often came in the form of chocolate or lemon meringue pie. We will miss his presence, laughter, and dimples, but the impact of his love and lessons will remain with us until we meet him again in the eternities.
He is survived by his wife, Bettie of Chelan; and seven children: Paula of Granite Falls, Kathy (Mike) Stowe of Chelan, Bev (Tom) Cady of East Wenatchee, Art (Shawna) Kenck of Sandy, UT, Chris (Jon) Courtright of Manson, Chuck (Pary) Kenck of Wenatchee, and Brian (Wendy) Kenck of Manson. He is also survived by 13 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
A Memorial of his life will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Chelan on Saturday, May 31, 2014, at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Knights of Columbus medical equipment program.