ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of our dear, sweet father, Ken Bensen. His body let go around sunrise on August 23, 2020 while the rest of us slept and with the love of his life, our Mom, sleeping in the bed next to his. We are heavy and light with grateful grieving. This man was/is an extraordinary soul and loved us with all his heart. This kind soul taught us to look at both sides of an issue, respect and be interested in others, appreciate what we had ..... and the power of simple acts of kindness. He was the kind of man who cried listening to good music (classical mostly and he loved brass). He modeled for us what love and devotion for your life partner looks like. He was what God intended a good man to be. We were so blessed to have him with us as long as we did and will miss him always.

Ken is survived by Doris, his wife of 69 years of marriage and 86 years of friendship; four children, five grandchildren, two great granddaughters, and one great grandchild on the way. The children are Christine Teubersen; Bruce and wife, Betsy; Louise (aka Carol); and Karen and partner, Cindy. Grandchildren are: Christine's daughters Juliane Baier and husband, Michi, and Livia; Bruce's daughters Caelen Janusz and husband, Andre, and Taylor Parsley and husband, Cody; and Karen's son, Anten. Great grandchildren are: Charlotte Parsley, Alma Baier and a Janusz baby on the way.

With the uncertainties of COVID remaining, we do not know when and if we will be able to hold an in-person memorial gathering. We hope this site will help all those who loved our Dad join together to celebrate and honor his life as well as find some solace. In addition, we are recommending two options for memorial donations in his name should you want to do so. The memorial donation suggestions and information are below. 

Our beloved father and husband lives on in our hearts, through his loving family, and through all the many friends and strangers whose lives he touched with such love, gentleness and grace. Please help us honor and memorialize him by sharing stories (go to "Stories" above), photos (go to "Gallery" above) and notes (see "Tributes" below) on this website. The site will evolve and grow as people add to it, so we welcome you to visit often. 

With gratitude and love,
The Bensen Family

Option #1: Hungry for Music
The first donation option was chosen in honor of our dad's great love of music, and in particular his beloved cornet that he began playing as a young boy. Music and his cornet inspired him, provided cherished memories, soothed him, and gave him great joy. 

Hungry For Music
In 1992, Jeff Campbell organized a street musician concert to benefit the homeless and within three years he formed a non-profit organization called Hungry For Music, dedicated to expanding opportunities in music for children. Since then, Hungry for Music has placed more than 14,000 instruments in the hands of aspiring musicians – children whose trajectory has been forever altered by the life-changing gift of music. They have delivered anything from trombones and violins to xylophones and guitars to children in 49 states and 30 countries.

To donate go to their website:
 https://hungryformusic.org 

Option #2: Burning Mouth Syndrome Research at Mayo Clinic
As many of you know, our dad suffered from Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS) for many years. Despite trying many, many doctors and treatments he was never able to find relief. This painful condition impacted Dad's life in so many ways and was a constant frustration. Mayo Clinic is doing research on BMS and donations can be made in Dad's name to support that research. Here is the information on how to make a donation: 

Memorial gifts be made in memory of Ken Bensen to Mayo Clinic for Otolaryngology ENT Research.
·Donations can be made by phone, online or by mail.
• Phone – call 1-855-852-8129 to talk with a Gift Processing Associates who can take a                       donation securely over the telephone.
• Online – https://philanthropy.mayoclinic.org/donatemc
           o Under “tribute information” please indicate the gift is in memory of Ken Bensen
• Mail – Checks can be written directly to Mayo Clinic and mailed to Mayo Clinic Department of Development, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905
           o In the memo line of the check or on a separate paper please indicate that the
             donation is in memory of Ken Bensen

Mayo Receipts & notifications: 
Once you make the memorial gift you will be provided a receipt for the charitable gift. If you make a note to notify the family, we will get notified as well via letter.

Posted by Louise Bensen on September 24, 2020
A friend put this poem on FaceBook today and it made me think of Dad. He would approve of this sentiment. Apparently it is used in the Reform Jewish liturgy. Posted by Louise Bensen

Epitaph - By Merrit Malloy

When I die
Give what’s left of me away
To children
And old men that wait to die.

And if you need to cry,
Cry for your brother
Walking the street beside you.
And when you need me,
Put your arms
Around anyone
And give them
What you need to give to me.

I want to leave you something,
Something better
Than words
Or sounds.

Look for me
In the people I’ve known
Or loved,
And if you cannot give me away,
At least let me live on in your eyes
And not your mind.

You can love me most
By letting
Hands touch hands,
By letting bodies touch bodies,
And by letting go
Of children
That need to be free.

Love doesn’t die,
People do.
So, when all that’s left of me
Is love,
Give me away.

Posted by Gretchen Torrison on September 16, 2020
I was blessed to have Uncle Ken as my godfather. Growing up in CT we spent every holiday with the Bensen family and I always felt so loved and welcomed. Uncle Ken was the epitome of a gentleman. He was kind, hard-working, loyal, patient, humble and always ready for a laugh. His world was his beloved Doris and children and it was an honor to witness the love and closeness his family shared. Aunt Doris and Uncle Ken got to meet my daughter, Piper Bensen at the celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary. It was a day I'll always treasure. Sending my love and eternal gratitude to the entire Bensen family.
Posted by Andrea Adams on September 15, 2020
The world lost one of the kindest men I've ever known. I met Ken and Doris in 1979 through their son Bruce. We both went to U Mass and for a brief time we dated. How often does one fall in love with a whole family and stay at least a bit connected to them forever in this situation? I lived with Chris in Burlington for a time and we became eternally bonded. I stayed with Karen and Carol/Louise for some time when in Portland for my job and even hired Karen. Ken and Doris stayed in contact all those years, interested in my life and sharing their adventures and reunions. I adored them. my most recent visit with them was just a couple of years ago in Denver. We had lunch and they were as postive and joyful as ever. They emulated all that was good in humanity and in personal relationships. I teared up seeing their family trivia game in the photo gallery. They got what life was all about. I can't imagine how difficult this must be for you Doris - your true and constant love, your best friend and favorite companion and yet, you are I'm sure grateful for your many years together. Hugs to the whole family. And thank-you for including me on this beautiful memorial site. 
Posted by Louise Bensen on September 14, 2020
Sent to Louise in an email:

Greetings,
I was in Doris’s PEO chapter when I lived in Broomfield. I now live in Parker but I will always have a place in my heart for sweet Doris and Ken.
Give my love to Doris and peace to your entire family,
Thoughtfully,
Carol Lewis
Posted by Joss Ivory on September 13, 2020
I write with a mixture of sadness, love and gratitude. For over 40 years I have thought of Ken and Doris as my American Mom and Dad. I spent just one year in Manchester, but the experience has been with me every day since. Mom and Dad opened their hearts and their home to me, a total stranger, for a whole year and at times I’m sure it was tough. I learned so much from them and felt their acceptance and love. I didn’t know it at the time, but that year was the beginning of a whole different life which has been and will always be sweetly flavoured with the special time I spent as part of the Bensen Family. I’m very sad that I didn’t get to see Dad just one more time, but I have many fond memories of the times we did have.

My American Dad was gentle and accepting, non-judgmental and supportive and I loved his smile and sense of humour. We bonded over Calvin and Hobbes. Every time I see Calvin and his tiger I am reminded of Dad and I feel happy.

I will always be grateful to Dad and Mom for their generosity and for their part in shaping the adult I grew up to be. I will remember Dad with deep love and admiration for a man who personified all that is good in the world and I will try to honour his memory by being the best person that I can be.

With love and tears

Joss
Posted by Bob Li on September 12, 2020
As newcomers to Covenant Village, we found Ken so warm and welcoming. Our times together at dinner were a delight for conversation and fellowship in Christ. His lovely wife Doris is so sweet. Sometimes, we found ourselves at different tables, and we could not resist going over to sit at theirs after we had finished, just for the pleasure of their company. I would sometimes have the opportunity to eat again as Doris would offer to let me share some of her dessert, and Ken would chuckle as he watched.

Dear Ken, we'll continue our conversations when we rejoin you soon. In the meantime, we're envious as your joy in the Lord's presence is beyond our imagination.

Bob and Ethel Li
Posted by Susan Plese on September 12, 2020
To Doris and family,
I was saddened to hear of Ken's death. Though I didn't know either of you very well, you both were so kind to me. You have a beautiful family, as I saw with the photos you posted. May God be with you all, and give you peace. When one of my students passed away a few years ago, she had asked that her parents read the following words: "Do not sit at my grave and cry. I am not there. I did not die."
Posted by Pamela Zuromski on September 11, 2020
I have very fond memories of adventures Bill and I shared with Doris and Ken. Even tho we're first cousins we always lived far from each other and never got to enjoy the pleasure of their company. When Bill retired and we started traveling we made it to the east coast and met with the Bensens for some exciting day trips to Rhode Island, scenic coastal towns and of course shopping trips! We enjoyed ourselves so much and were able to celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary with them. We shared lots of laughs, stories and each others company. Ken's smiling face and wonderful attitude was always very welcome. I'm saddened for all of his family and you're all in my thoughts and prayers as you grieve this wonderful man.
Posted by Don Brewer on September 10, 2020
What a treat to get to know Ken and Doris Bensen at Covenant Village in Westminster, Colorado! Visits with Ken in the halls as we met were special. We joked ( at his initiation) about his being bald and my hair growing. Fun. 
I missed them here at Mountain View when they moved.
May you, his family, rejoice with your happy memories and may his stiller character guide your lives in the days and years ahead. With love and appreciation for knowing Ken. Don Brewer
Posted by MaryAnn Thibodeau Thibode... on September 10, 2020
Doris, I'm so sorry to hear of the passing of your husband. It's been years and you probably don't even remember me. I was Chris and I think Karen's 4-H Leader. I have many fond memories of that time. Gosh so much has happened, I didn't realize you moved away. Your family has grown so big and beautiful. I wish you all the very best. I'm not very computer literate anymore and I'm probably the only person alive not on Facebook. Best regards, MaryAnn
Posted by Holly Campbell on September 8, 2020
What a beautiful website dedicated to your dear father - the wonderful photos, amazing tributes from his children and glorious music. Yes, it made me teary remembering all the times I spent with Ken and Doris at CVC along with my parents and other friends - the stories told at so many dinners, the Sunday lunches with the "Lutheran table", visiting in their apartment, my granddaughter Wren truly entranced "playing" the player piano, and most of all, fun and fellowship. My parents, Ray and Elaine Johnson were so thrilled when Ken and Doris moved into CVC, because they had found kindred spirits - and true and loving friendship. Doris, I miss you very much and hope that you will find solace surrounded, in person and in spirit, by your loving family. You and Ken had a marriage and love that was a beautiful thing to behold. Christine, thank you for taking your time to spend with me last summer when I came to Vienna. It was wonderful to meet Juliane and sweet Alma. You are a lovely person and tremendous writer. I'll always remember Ken and his big smile and laugh, and also his tremendous kindness to my mother after my dad died. I'm keeping you all in my heart. 
Posted by Susan Mobley Bartlett on September 8, 2020
Dear Cousins Louise, Chris, Karen, Bruce and family, and to my darling Aunt Doris,

Words seem inadequate here. I send you each heartfelt sorrow for your loss.

I am so sad to hear of Uncle Ken's passing. He was very kind to me in the course of my life and even tho we never lived near each other, he has always been a kind of steady, comforting presence (along with your mom of course).
With his face so like your grandfather's--my beloved Uncle Lester-- whom I did live nearer for the first 15 years of my life and knew well, and to a lesser degree like my own Grandpa's sweet face, our family connection was always very immediate for me. These and others we loved gone on now, I'm guessing your Dad got one spectacular and joyful reception on the other side.

His dedication to all of you, and in a special way of course to Aunt Doris, was a beautiful, shining thing.
I miss, and will always remember Uncle Ken and Join you in being so very thankful for your Dad's wonderful life.




Posted by Margaret Spindler on September 8, 2020
What a wonderful couple with such wonderful family. Ken and Doris moved in to Mt. View around the same time as Frank and I. I know they looked at the apartment we liked but there was no space to store the house and all the other things Ken made and took the apartment above us (which made us happy! They gave so much to residents with educating us on Swiss food and history and many other activities. Their love is a beautiful story and showed what "true love"really is.
Posted by Lorena Del Carmen on September 6, 2020
Sending a note of love and appreciation for this beautiful family. Karen Bensen is a dear friend and colleague. I am sure that she gets some of her caring and loving qualities from her dear father. May Kenneth rest in peace knowing that he's left an incredible legacy in his family.
Posted by Christina Poppleton on September 5, 2020
We are all so sadden to hear of Kens passing. He was the sweetest man who added such a bright light to our family gatherings when they made the move to Colorado. He is already missed! We love all of you Bensen’s so much!
Posted by Connie McKee-Pinn on September 4, 2020
Dear Bensen family,

It was with so much sadness that we read the email notifying us of the death of Ken! Anyone who has ever met Ken knows what a loss his life is to all who ever crossed his path! Please know how much we loved your dad and how much we enjoyed spending time with him and with Doris!

We met Ken an Doris on a river cruise in 2009. We had many meals together with them on the cruise and became good friends in just a few days. When the cruise ended in Vienna, Austria and they were ready to spend time with Chris and her girls we knew that we wanted to see Ken and Doris again. Luckily our son lived in the Denver area and we made plans to see them anytime we were in Colorado.

We visited with Ken and Doris almost every year and always picked up on our conversations as if we had seen them just days before. Our many memories include lunches at the Village Grille, stops at Costco, dinners in the Covenant Village dining room and great conversation in their beautiful apartment.

We had many drives around Colorado discovering so many places of interest together. Doris and I would always find some thrift stores to do a little shopping for bargains and Ken and Chris would follow along and talk and we all laughed together when Doris would read her stories and jokes!

Our friendship continue to grow as we met more of the family: Chris, Juliane, Michi, Livia, Taylor, Karen, Cindy, Anten and Louise! We also heard many stories about Bruce but never had the chance to met him! Ken and Doris were able to meet our son John and his wife Kelly who live in Idaho Springs! Family meant so very much to Ken!

As we are so saddened by the loss of our dear friend Ken, we will always remember how welcoming both he and Doris were to us. Ken was a wonderful friend. He was a gentle, intelligent and loving man! We will miss him but will always cherish our wonderful memories!

I am sure that Ken is dancing in heaven and playing his coronet in the heavenly band! No more burning mouth syndrome! You lead a wonderful life dear friend, and we will miss you!

With love to your entire family,
Connie and Chris Pinn

Posted by Ruth West on September 3, 2020
Bob and I were so sad to hear the news of our dear friend, Ken. There are not enough words to say how much he meant to us. He enriched our lives in great measure. We miss his smile, his kind words, his wit and humor.
  We would often comment on his talents and wisdom. I thank him again each time I think about how he did such an expert job of restoring my precious Simpich angel's Christmas tree topper (broken arm). She was irreplaceable, but Ken came through. One of MANY kindnesses.
  We've had a lot of good times together and thank God for the privilege of calling him and Doris friends. May your many wonderful memories sustain you all at this time of sorrow. God bless you. Love, Ruth and Bob
Posted by Laurie Horwitz Bayer on September 3, 2020
In 1960-something, the Bensen family moved to my neighborhood. The four Bensen kids and the four Horwitz kids spent hours and days and years together. I cherish those memories. What I remember about "Mr. Bensen" (kids didn't call other kids' parents by first name at the time) was his kind eyes and his smile. He was fun-loving and loving. He was filled with energy but exuded calm. Together with "Mrs. Bensen", he created a home filled with warmth. It felt like there was a glow inside their house, perhaps coming from the family as much as from the decor. Having crossed paths with the grown Bensen kids at various points over the decades, I am certain that Ken will live in their hearts. I can see him in their eyes and in their smiles.
Posted by Louise Bensen on September 2, 2020
Share by Amy Stone:

Poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
Posted by Mohamed Bahouali on September 2, 2020
Dear Bensens and extended family:

The news was numbing when Chris informed me. Please accept my deepest and heart felt sympathy. Words may never be enough to replace a loved one, but Mr. Bensen, as I called him and his dead when face to face, showed me that words, in his style of clarity, calmness and kindness, are very important indeed. He and the family accepted me as a guest with a broken accent (mine), but never tired of listening. I cherished his hugs which matched his stature. His smiles put one at peace from the start, so I just relaxed and enjoyed the company.
We have also lost Joan and Allen Austill and, not long ago, also lost William Fore who was one of their neighbors and closest friend. In each of those moments, we emphasized celebrating Mr. Bensen's generation for allowing us to trod along turbulent times, always encouraging and respecting our decisions. I already miss that sense of tolerance and positivity. 
I will always picture Mr. Bensen, his warmth, his humor and that wide smile which contained a thousand words whether when receiving you or bidding you farewell. After 48 years of knowing him and his immediate family, he will stand and remain a strong human pillar for my perception of real friends.
God Bless Him and grant all of you peace of heart to join me in celebrating a unique gift, departing after making sure his mission was well accomplished.

Much love to you all,
Mohamed
Posted by Pat Rumbaugh on September 2, 2020
Dear Louise and Family,

Louise my heart goes out to you and your family for the death of your dear Father. You gave every ounce of your heart and soul to your parents these last couple of years. I wish I could hug you and be there for you. May your Father Rest in Peace. Love, Pat
Posted by Lis Malina on September 2, 2020
No-one ever sees that last moment
The eroded rock becomes sand
But if they did they would hear
The Sea singing.

Rumi

With my deepest and caring love for you all, dear Bensen family. Although I met your husband/father/grandfather... only one or two times, he means a lot to me and he will stay in my heart and in my memory.
Posted by Kathy Tanner on September 2, 2020
Dear friends,
I had the great pleasure to meet Ken while he was in Vienna. I found him a charming man - hearty, kind, thoughtful and cheery. We had a few times together and he remains to this day vividly in my memory. I feel richer in my life having met him. He will be sorely missed by all his family and friends. Please accept my heartfelt condolences.
Much love
Kathy
Posted by Maya Ivanova on September 2, 2020
Dearest family,
My deepest condolences to your beloved father, husband, grandfather, great grandfather and friend. I am deeply sorry that not all of you might have been present in his last days. I hope the memories you have of him will try to keep your hearts warm and kindle the love you shared for the rest of your lives.

I hope he left you with peace, knowing he taught all the lessons he had to teach and said all the words he needed to say to let his soul fly carrying no burden.

Be blessed,
Maya
Posted by Trish Becker-Hafnor on September 1, 2020
I know Kenneth only through his wonderful daughter Karen, who is among the loveliest humans I've known. I can only imagine the kindness, generosity, integrity and wisdom that he possessed to have embodied each of these in his children. Love and light to all of you. What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful man.
Posted by Jeanne Plo on September 1, 2020
Dearest Family,
My deepest and most heartfelt sympathy for the loss of your devoted Father,
Grandfather and Great Grandfather.
I met Ken Bensen at least 37 years ago when he and Doris were visiting their daughter, my dear Friend, Christine. Before that, I had met his father, Lester Bensen, when he was staying with his Granddaughter, Christine at 8
Greene Street in Burlington, Vermont.
Ken was like his Father—one of the most engaging and caring men I have ever met—full of joy and genuinely interested in others. He carried a unique Spirit—a “heart of Gold” which I felt as a golden light of love. I regret that I did not have
more time to know him in this lifetime. Only today did I learn that Ken loved music and to play the Cornet. I pray that the music of his Soul may always be with You. 
Please know I share your loss.
With love and sympathy,
Jeanne Plo
Posted by Rick Gowen on September 1, 2020
I'm so sorry to learn of Mr. Bensen's passing. His eternal smile, his love for his dear wife and children was forever enduring. He touched many people and all of us who were blessed to have known him are most grateful as he inspired us to share his love and enthusiasm for life and family. A life very well lived long and completely. He will remain in my thoughts forever and I hope his loving family will find comfort in knowing how I looked up to him in so many ways.
Posted by Louise Bensen on September 1, 2020
Dear Louise.
What a wonderful memorial you have made and written.
I have looked at all the pictures of you all. And cried a bit - smiled through tears.
What a special, kind and sweet man he was and your whole unique family.
My deepest thoughts go to you all!

Life is a strange and wonderful journey.

Thank you for sending this to me.
Love from, Birgitte (Svendsen)
❤️
Posted by Maureen Brennan on September 1, 2020
Thank you Louise for including me and sharing this wonderful tribute to your father. So sorry for your loss and I know he lives on in all your hearts and memories!
Posted by Louise Bensen on September 1, 2020
A stunning collage of memories with music to match.
Since our arriving in Connecticut in 1969, we spent literally every holiday together. Such an exceptional family with Ken and Doris as the ideal parents for any child.
You have been incredible to your parents in the twilight of their lives - bless you all.
You will be missed dear man but never forgotten.
With everlasting admiration.
Bobbi Torrison
Posted by Christine Teubersen on August 30, 2020
I’m borrowing words here, Dad.


Only when our feet learn once again how to walk in a sacred manner, and our hearts hear the real music of creation, can we bring the world back into balance.
—Llewellyn Vaughan Lee

There is a morning when Presence comes over your Soul.
You sing like a rooster in your earth- colored shape.
Your heart hears and , no longer frantic, begins to Dance.
—Rumi

Thank you for sanctifying my life here on Earth.
I love you with all my heart—
Chrissy

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Louise Bensen on September 24, 2020
A friend put this poem on FaceBook today and it made me think of Dad. He would approve of this sentiment. Apparently it is used in the Reform Jewish liturgy. Posted by Louise Bensen

Epitaph - By Merrit Malloy

When I die
Give what’s left of me away
To children
And old men that wait to die.

And if you need to cry,
Cry for your brother
Walking the street beside you.
And when you need me,
Put your arms
Around anyone
And give them
What you need to give to me.

I want to leave you something,
Something better
Than words
Or sounds.

Look for me
In the people I’ve known
Or loved,
And if you cannot give me away,
At least let me live on in your eyes
And not your mind.

You can love me most
By letting
Hands touch hands,
By letting bodies touch bodies,
And by letting go
Of children
That need to be free.

Love doesn’t die,
People do.
So, when all that’s left of me
Is love,
Give me away.

Posted by Gretchen Torrison on September 16, 2020
I was blessed to have Uncle Ken as my godfather. Growing up in CT we spent every holiday with the Bensen family and I always felt so loved and welcomed. Uncle Ken was the epitome of a gentleman. He was kind, hard-working, loyal, patient, humble and always ready for a laugh. His world was his beloved Doris and children and it was an honor to witness the love and closeness his family shared. Aunt Doris and Uncle Ken got to meet my daughter, Piper Bensen at the celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary. It was a day I'll always treasure. Sending my love and eternal gratitude to the entire Bensen family.
Posted by Andrea Adams on September 15, 2020
The world lost one of the kindest men I've ever known. I met Ken and Doris in 1979 through their son Bruce. We both went to U Mass and for a brief time we dated. How often does one fall in love with a whole family and stay at least a bit connected to them forever in this situation? I lived with Chris in Burlington for a time and we became eternally bonded. I stayed with Karen and Carol/Louise for some time when in Portland for my job and even hired Karen. Ken and Doris stayed in contact all those years, interested in my life and sharing their adventures and reunions. I adored them. my most recent visit with them was just a couple of years ago in Denver. We had lunch and they were as postive and joyful as ever. They emulated all that was good in humanity and in personal relationships. I teared up seeing their family trivia game in the photo gallery. They got what life was all about. I can't imagine how difficult this must be for you Doris - your true and constant love, your best friend and favorite companion and yet, you are I'm sure grateful for your many years together. Hugs to the whole family. And thank-you for including me on this beautiful memorial site. 
his Life

Start the day with Love

Ken was born in a small Chicago suburb and lived in a charming house on a beautiful, tree- lined avenue in Maywood. His mother, Mabel, was the heart of the home. His dad, Lester, grew the most gorgeous roses in the garden, which he talked to every morning before taking the train to work in Chicago.

Live the day with Love

Ken’s map for happiness was based on balance, order, rhythm and harmony. Ken’s childhood was all of that, plus some mischief with his life long friend, Maurie. His other companions were his dogs, families from church and Uncle Oscar. Though his dad’s work sometimes took him away on extended trips, he returned with stories of adventures that extended Ken’s horizons. The family took trips together out West to explore those horizons. 

He was a brilliant student and soulful cornet player. His hobby of building airplane models would have seemed to indicate a singular focus on his future career as an aeronautical engineer, were it not for that far away look in his eyes....thinking of Doris Johnson.

Fill the day with Love

Ken and Doris met in first grade in 1934 and became an item immediately. They were the love of one another’s lives, were welcomed readily into each other’s families and following Ken‘s graduation from University of Illinois with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering (and Doris’ from Butler University with a degree in Elementary Education), they married in 1951. Ken worked for Chicago Screw Co and Doris taught school...until the days continued to fill with love: Christine arrived in 1953 and Bruce in 1956. At this juncture, Ken found more satisfying work at Pratt and Whitney Aircraft in Connecticut and the family moved to Manchester, joined in 1958 by Carol Louise and in 1962 by Karen. Now we could truly...
Recent stories

Mr. Fixit Guy

Shared by Karen Bensen on September 5, 2020
Our Dad was an engineer through and through.  He never met something broken he couldn’t fix. We counted on it, in fact. I remember the first time I really noticed his simple genius when he fixed my alarm clock. It turns out that the battery was not connecting to the clock tightly enough to send the charge, so he folded up a little piece of tissue and tucked it behind the connector (what do you call those things?!) to apply just the right amount of pressure for the battery to make the necessary connection to run the clock. Voila! Fixed! It worked for many more years.  It was a simple yet genius solution. That’s the way his brain worked.

After he and Mom moved to Denver to live closer to me, I had him over one day to look at my sprinkler manifold (is that what you call it?) that had burst in a hard freeze overnight. I watched as he held all the pieces in his hands and stared at them for what seemed like a long time. Total silence while he stared. Nothing moved, not his body, not the parts. Finally, he spoke, “Ok, I got it.” Like doing a math problem without pencil and paper, he had fixed my sprinkler in his head.

Life went along like this for Dad. One problem solved after another. One could say it was his life purpose. As Dad aged, though, he was faced with a new kind of problem, his health. He treated each bodily problem that arose as an engineer would. He researched it online, he talked with his Dr. about it, and he tried one possible solution at a time as if running an experiment. He wanted to be sure he knew if it worked or not, so he would not try more than one thing at a time. It wasn’t good science to do so. His genius didn’t work for him on his own body. Medicine didn’t have answers for Dad’s ailments and they didn’t get fixed. While his physical ailments were not life threatening, they were debilitating and not being able to fix them in the way that he was used to doing was soul crushing. I have to wonder if Dad left us because he no longer felt he could fulfill his life purpose as a fixit guy.

The Fixit Guy lives on through his children, however. As Dad declined and Louise and I took care of more and more things and solved more and more of the household issues that popped up in their lives, Dad often commented in amazement at our capabilities and creative problem solving. We reminded him over and over that we had learned those skills from him. And we see them play out in Chris and Bruce and trickle down to the grandkids. The Fixit Guy left a legacy, and a humbled acceptance that none of us could fix the ailing body of a life well lived.

Karen - (youngest daughter) - Thank you to Louise for story edits and suggestions.

Sunrise over Denver

Shared by Michael Baier on September 1, 2020
He and I connected over photography and he loved showing me his own Camera - still analogue - and telling me stories about the pictures he took with it. On my holiday trips, I always carried my DSLR Camera everywhere and hunted for the most interesting pictures around Colorado. On my first trip to Denver, he made sure to drive us to all the bautiful peaks around Denver. We spent so many hours in the car, and we were so excited! On my second trip to Denver in 2013, during the time that Juliane and I were still at University, I read online about the beautiful sunrise pictures from the Denver Skyline and as we talked about it, Ken immediately had a place in mind, where we could have a good view and was very willing to take me there. This meant getting up at 5am to still have enough time to scope out the place to see, where we would have the best view, driving to the place about 30 Minutes and - since it was November - waiting in the cold morning air for the sun to rise and warm up our fingers :-) we had a lot of fun!! You can see one of the best pictures we took that morning.
This is just one of the moments, that show how Ken has welcomed me into the family and enjoyed getting to know me. I am very grateful for the wonderful times I've had with Ken and I will always carry (more than) his "picture" with me in my heart.

Michael Baier, Julianes (granddaughter) husband

Story from Maude Carpenter

Shared by Louise Bensen on August 31, 2020
Thank you so much for sharing this with me. Your Dad and Mom projected a picture of enduring love so well.

I remember in particular two conversations your dad shared with me  - one of which showed me the kind of father you describe. He was talking about his decision not to take leadership part in many volunteer activities. He said something to this effect, “ I feel my first responsibility is to be there for my children.” Indeed, he was.
The second humbled me as I admired him so much. We were talking about a book that was very popular at the time. I said I had not really liked it, to which he replied, “ If you didn’t like it, I don’t think I would.” What an honor!
I know that you will always treasure your memories of your dad.
Sincerely,
Maude Carpenter (long time friend at Emanuel Lutheran Church in Manchester)