Born July 30, 1922 – Died: April 1, 2017
Ken passed away in the Health Services section of the Villa Gardens Retirement Community in Pasadena, California after a brief illness. He was preceded in death by his wife Ruth who also died at the Villa Gardens on Nov. 13, 2016
Ken Westfall was born to Frank and Fannie Verbick Westfall on their farm a mile west of Aberdeen, Idaho. Ken and his brothers, Millard and Herbert grew up in Aberdeen working on the family farm and going to school. Ken’s brothers graduated from the University of Colorado as engineers and left the Aberdeen area for successful careers outside the State.
Aberdeen High School was Ken’s Alma Mater where he lettered all four years and was the Class Salutatorian in 1940. He was a member of the Future Farmers of America and sang in the Aberdeen High School and Methodist Choirs.
In 1940 Ken started college at the University of Idaho at Moscow majoring in Soils and Agronomy. Ken was in the ROTC and after Pearl Harbor he enlisted in the Army Air Force Cadet Corp. He was transferred to the University of Nebraska to rapidly complete his college degree before starting his pilot training. Graduating in 1943, Ken completed his pilot training in California and Colorado. He was trained as a B-25 pilot and cross trained as a C-47 pilot. Ken was assigned to the 12th Air Force in Italy and he flew C-47’s while in Europe. After the war, Ken flew troops home via South America to Florida. He was discharged in 1945 in Georgia, caught a train to Utah and arrived home in time to work the potato harvest.
On Feb. 22, 1946, Ken married Alice Marjorie Dvorak. They chose Washington’s Birthday to be married because the Dvorak family pharmacy would be closed. Ken and “Marge” lived on the Westfall farm where Ken and his father were now partners in the enterprise. They remained partners until Frank’s death in 1965.
Marge and Ken raised three children that attended Aberdeen schools. The children were; Jon Kenneth Westfall, currently residing in Soda Springs, Idaho, Jay Roger Westfall who died in 2012, and Jodie Rae Westfall, currently in Washington. Ken dedicated his life to his children.
In addition to raising a family and running Westfall Farms, Ken served from 1947 through 1970 as the President of the Aberdeen Livestock Marketing Association, Inc. He was on the Board of Directors of the Idaho Wool Growers Association for many years and also served on the Board of Idaho Cattle Feeders Association. Ken was a member of the Aberdeen School Board from 1952 to 1970 during which time he served as President and Vice-President of the Idaho School Trustees Association. Ken joined the Rotary Club in 1974 and was an active supporter.
Ken and Marge were long time Methodists and very active in the Aberdeen Methodist Church. Ken was a delegate to the Idaho and Idaho-Oregon Methodist Conference. After Ken’s marriage to Ruth they attended services at both the Methodist and Mennonite Churches.
While he raised a family, served the community and his church, Ken managed to increase the original 160 acre farm to the 1,200 acre “Westfall Farms” he held when he retired. Westfall Farms had feedlots for 1,000 head of cattle and grazed over 500 sheep. It raised potatoes, sugar beets, cereal grains and alfalfa.
Throughout their married life, Ken and Marge remained friends with Randy and Ruth Moser who also grew up in Aberdeen. The four of them traveled across America and abroad and spent many vacations together. In 1991 both Randy Moser and Marge Westfall died a few days apart. In 1993 Ken and Ruth were married in Pasadena. They maintained residences in Aberdeen and California until 2014, spending the winter in sunny California and summers in beautiful Idaho.
The family wishes to thank the management and staff of the Villa Gardens for their care of both Ken and Ruth during their stay there. A special thanks to Judy, Ruth’s cousin, and Larry Ballenger for their assistance.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, April 15, at 1:30 p.m. in the Villa Vista room at Villa Gardens where he and Ruth had lived all their married life, except when they went home to Aberdeen in the summers.
A memorial service for both Ken and Ruth will be held Saturday, May 13 at 1 p.m. at First Mennonite Church in Aberdeen.
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