Morganville, Kansas- Proudly decorated Vietnam veteran, Kenny Knoettgen, passed away on November 28, two weeks after his 68th birthday. He was born in Concordia, Kansas to John and Afton (Campbell) Knoettgen November 11, 1950, the youngest of three children.
He was predeceased by his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and his three canine companions, Dixie, Murmur, and Mousse. He is survived by his sister, Prudy Sutton, and husband Larry of Katy, Texas; his brother, Arnie Knoettgen, and wife Kathy of Morganville, Kansas. He also leaves behind his nieces, Tonya Knoettgen of Kansas City, Missouri, Stephanie Hefner and husband, Greg of New York, New York; nephews, John Sutton of Katy, Texas, Jason Sutton of New Orleans, Louisiana; great nephew Gregory Hefner of New York, New York, and great nieces Zoe and Madison Sutton of Katy, Texas and Campbell Hefner of New York, New York; phenomenal cousins, Pat Sabo and Pam and Dick Dowd of Santa Rosa, California and a myriad number of friends.
Shortly after Kenny graduated from Clay Center High School, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam. Upon his return to Morganville, he worked in construction. In 1974 Kenny was in a car accident that resulted in him being a quadriplegic. Not one to let adversity get the better of him, Kenny defied all of the odds and led a remarkable life.
He traveled with family, as well as friends, to a number of places including California, New Orleans, Texas, along with cruises to the Caribbean and Alaska.
Kenny contributed his time and expertise as a volunteer librarian at the Julie Thomas Memorial Library in Morganville for a number of years. He enjoyed his work with kids at the elementary school in Morganville helping them learn to read. During several summers, Kenny ran the Snack Shack during Morganville's summer baseball and softball leagues. He even made time to coach softball for the girls in Morganville.
Kenny was clearly a role model to all. He always smiled and made those around him smile. He never saw barriers in his life. His caregivers became family friends and brought their own children to spend time with Kenny. Ultimately, some of those same kids became his caregivers, as well. Kenny forgot that he had limitations. He simply did what he wanted.
It is not ironic that Kenny left us on his favorite day of the year as a deer hunter/opening day of the Kansas rifle season. He spent quality time, some 25 or more years, with his brother, Arnie, and Arnie's daughter, Tonya, in the makeshift blind they built so Kenny could go hunting every year. It is more than fitting that along with Arnie and Tonya that Kathy, Prudy, and Stephanie spent Kenny's last opening day with him.
He welcomed everyone and made all around him feel comfortable in his presence. His family cannot be more grateful to all who participated in Kenny’s life, but especially would like to thank his in-home helpers and caregivers as well as all of the professional staff at the numerous medical facilities where he received care and treatment including Clay Center, Manhattan, Topeka, VA Hospital Wichita and the VA Hospitals in St. Louis where Kenny spent his last nine months. Each and every facility was impeccable in their care and kindness extended to Kenny.
A Funeral Mass will be held on Friday, December 7, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. at SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Clay Center, Kansas.Visitation will be held on Thursday, December 6 from 3:00-6:00 p.m. at the SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church. The Rosary will be recited at 6:00 p.m.
Burial will follow in the Greenwood Cemetery in Clay Center.
Memorials may be made to the Kenny Knoettgen Memorial Fund to be designated
later and can be sent in care of Neill-Schwensen-Rook Funeral Home, Clay Center. www.nsrfh.com