On the 30th of January in 1947, the town of Plainview celebrated with Ava Nell and Kirby Kuykendall as they announced the birth of their son, Kenneth Wayne Kuykendall. It was from this small town and humble beginnings that began Ken’s life journey. During his childhood, his parents moved to the booming town of Pasadena, Texas. While in Pasadena, Ken proudly graduated from Pasadena High School.
The next leg of Ken’s journey came to him by way of the U.S. Postal Service. On May 15, 1968, Ken received notice from the Selective Service to report for duty. In July of 1968, Ken was ordered to be stationed at Ft. Bliss for basic training in the U.S. Army. He was assigned to “A” Company, 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry Division. After his completion of basic training, he was then deployed to Vietnam where he served under Captain Cargile. His unit radio call sign was “Rough Rider,” and Ken’s personal radio call sign was “Rough Rider 6 India”; yet most of the time he was referred to as “6 India.” On July 23, 1969, Ken was wounded in battle by a mortar strike. Ken’s tour of duty in Vietnam ended on December 15, 1969, shortly after this injury. During his time in the service, Ken was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star, along with numerous other medals and accolades. Ken was then honorably discharged from the Army on July 1, 1974.
It was after Ken returned home from Vietnam that he began his journey as the Godly man we all fondly remember. On March 18, 1978, Ken married the love of his life, Ann Dillman. Ken and Ann raised four boys, Donnie Dillman, Bob Dillman, John Kuykendall and Randy Dillman. Ken was a loving father-in-law to Cindy, Shanon and Ruth. He was a playful grandfather of 9 and spoiling great-grandfather to 10.
Ken was an active member of South Park Baptist Church under the leadership of four different pastors. He also went on several mission trips to Canada. Ken loved being involved in an after-school program for kids called Beach Club, which allowed him to witness to them about Christ. He always said Beach Club was the shortest hour of his week. Ken additionally served on the hospitality committee at church where he used his love and passion for cooking to help create meals and different foods during churchwide social events. Ken’s love of cooking was never wasted at the frequent gatherings for family and/or friends; they never left hungry. It was a normal sight to see everyone crowded around the 1,200 lb. BBQ pit he designed. He even won a few ribbons with his culinary talents. As a matter of fact, if there is anyone here with Ken’s rub recipe, he included provision in his will forbidding you to share it with anyone. No matter what he cooked, be it BBQ, chicken fried backstrap or breakfast tacos … you could always taste his love.
Ken’s professional life was successful on many levels. Ken served his community as a councilman for the Village of Hillcrest. He was employed by the company Triplex where he worked for 25 years prior to his retirement in 2005. It was during his time at Triplex where he discovered and cultivated his true love for the outdoors and hunting. Ken’s Heaven on Earth was the F6 Ranch in Junction, Texas. He anticipated deer season like a giddy toddler waiting for Christmas. Ken openly shared his love for the F6 Ranch by hosting hunting trips for wounded veterans, police officers and men from his church. Ken also declared that his proudest possessions, the deer on his wall, must be displayed forever in his survivors’ homes.
In 2009, Ken became actively involved in reuniting with his Brothers in Arms. He would attend reunions with his fellow Vietnam veterans and comrades from his unit. Ken planned all year to see these men, and his family cherished the opportunity to meet a few before Ken’s death.
Ken ended his earthly journey on November 22, 2019, trusting in the promise that Jesus gave before his ascension into Heaven, “my peace I give you.” At the end of his physical struggle here on earth, Ken prepared to enter the Gates of Heaven with his perfect hair and new body. Ken was met at the gates of Heaven by his loving grandmother, Mary Ellen Burns; son, Donnie Dillman; daughter-in-law, Shanon Kuykendall; parents-in-law, Bill and Gertrude Sears; and his father, Kirby Kuykendall. Most importantly he was met by Jesus Christ saying, “well done my true and faithful servant.”
As the family surrounded Ken with love, one of his final statements was … “mission accomplished.”
Friends are cordially invited to the visitation with the family Saturday, November 30, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. with a memorial service immediately following at 11:00 a.m. at South Park Baptist Church, 1718 S. Johnson St., Alvin, TX 77511.
In lieu of flowers, you may donate to the Beach Club at South Park Baptist Church, which is an after-school program Ken participated in.
Condolences may be sent to the family in care of Jeter Memorial Funeral Home at www.jeterfuneralhome.com.
Arrangements under the direction of Jeter Memorial Funeral Home.