Kenneth Lee English departed this life Sept. 15, 2013. Ken was born June 23, 1923, the fifth of five sons born to John and Rosella (Jacques) English.
He attended Guthrie schools, graduating from Guthrie High School in 1941. He attended the University of Oklahoma for two years where he was drum major of “the pride of Oklahoma,” OU’s marching band. He also attended Kentucky State Teacher’s College and Cincinnati University.
Kenneth married Beatrice Lentz Sept. 1, 1942. They made their home in Norman, until he was called to active duty with the U.S. Army in May 1943.
He served overseas in the European Theater with the 94th Reconnisance Squadron of the 14th Armored Division where his platoon received a Presidential Unit Citation for action at the Battle of Hatten and Rittershoffen.
Following military service, he became associated with his father-in-law and brother-in-law in the menswear and furniture business in Guthrie, “Lloyd Lentz and Sons.” In 1962, he became owner of the clothing store, renaming it “Ken English Menswear,” where he was in business until closing it and retiring in 1981. He and Lloyd Lentz Jr. were partners in a wipe rag business, importing rags from Japan and reselling them in the U.S. He was interested in other ventures and was also a real estate broker licensed in Oklahoma.
He was a member of the First United Methodist Church, the V.F.W., American Legion, Masonic Lodge No. 35, Sons of the American Revolution, and the Guthrie Golf and Country Club. He was a former member of the Lions Club and the Guthrie Jaycees. As president of the Jaycees, he initiated the holiday flag service for downtown merchants; started the Jaycees Radio Auction to help needy families at Christmas time, which has evolved into the Kiwanis TV Auction; and also planted trees on both sides of the old highway 33 from the west entrance to Guthrie to the present Job Corps, many of which still live.
After his retirement, he volunteered his time to planting trees at the Guthrie Golf and Country Club. As “tree chairman” over the course of 15 years almost 900 were planted and nurtured, many of which he grew from seeds. At one time the golf course boasted more than 100 different varieties.
Ken was an enthusiastic golfer, traveling to numerous courses to play. He has two holes in one and at 74 years, shot his age.
He is preceded in death by his lovely wife, Beatrice “Bea” English, his children, Susan Nickles and Robert English, and great-grandson, Steven Nickles. He is survived by his daughter Jenny Nelson and husband Joe of Stillwater; son-in-law Clark Nickles of Ponca City; and daughter-in-law Mary English of Checotah, Okla.
He is also survived by 10 grandchildren: Bob (wife Elizabeth) and Patrick Nickles, Katy Nickles Walters (husband Jamie); Amy Nelson Bryant (husband Jeff), Julie Nelson Wilson (husband Greg), and Christopher Nelson; Michael, Josheb (wife Amanda), Javan and Matthew (wife Mattie) English.
He was also blessed with 18 great-grandkids: Madeline, Charlotte, Bridgette, Michael, and Mitchell Nickles; Max, John, Bode, and Charlie Nickles; Zoe and Nash Walters; Zach and Maggie Bryant; Nate Wilson; Symone, Colton, and Kodiak English; and Giana English. Ken is also survived by a sister-in-law, Pauline Lentz and numerous nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, at Smith Memorial Chapel with the Rev. Mike DeMoss officiating. Interment will follow at Summit View Cemetery. Services are under the direction of Smith-Gallo Funeral Home.
Visitation will be held from noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday.
Memorials may be made in his name to the First United Methodist Church, 224 E. Noble, Guthrie, OK 73044 or Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, 825 N.E. 13th St., Oklahoma City, OK 73104-5097 for heart and alzheimer’s research.
Friends may sign the online guestbook at www.smithgallo.com