Kenneth Burt Read, 96, left us to be with Jesus on April 2, 2018 at The Village Senior Residence. He was born on April 26, 1921 to Edward and Cecelia (Brager) Read. He was the youngest of 13 children and raised on a farm near Leeds, ND.
He served in World War II various areas; the Army band, Army Air Corps and in Signal Corps. Near the end of the war he was stationed in the Pacific on New Guinea and the Philippine Islands. Upon release from the Army, he returned to Missoula, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Montana. He later earned his Master’s degree in Public Health from Berkeley, California.
He was a Public Health Sanitarian in various counties in Montana: Valley; Lake; Sanders; and Cascade. His last position was Campus Sanitarian at University of Montana for 18 years.
In 1953, Ken was hired as the new Sanitarian for Lake and Sanders Counties Health District by the district’s two nurses at the direction of their public health officer. One of those nurses was Ethel Mitchell. Following a whirlwind courtship, Ken and Ethel were married on February 12, 1954. He adored his wife, and after nearly 60 years of marriage, Ken was devastated when she died in 2013.
A very kind, giving man, Ken was always willing to lend a hand to anyone who had a need and loved to meet new people. He never shied away from talking about the Bible and Savior Jesus Christ. His faith was solid and unwavering and his daily routine always began with a morning devotional, some Bible reading, and prayer.
He cherished his Norwegian ancestry and loved telling 'Ole and Lena' jokes and was a great story teller. While he and Ethel were still living at their house, Ken would share stories (often funny) while the family was sitting around their table enjoying a delicious meal that Ethel had prepared.
Ken also enjoyed making Lefse and was quite good at it. He often made enough to share with several of his family members and, in later years, with friends at The Village. He also made the best pancakes, waffles, and scrambled eggs and popcorn.
One of Ken's favorite hobbies was to remodel old Volkswagen Bugs. He rebuilt engines, repainted exteriors, and even had an industrial strength sewing machine to create new upholstery for the seats. His sewing abilities were truly remarkable!
He was a kid at heart. He delighted in visiting Seattle and feeding French fries to the “starving” seagulls at Ivar’s on the waterfront and loved sharing the fun with his children and grandchildren. He looked forward to talking his children and grandchildren in to watching Don Knotts’s movies and Disney’s animated Jungle Book with him and making everyone laugh in response to his belly laughs.
Ken was preceded in death by his wife, parents, siblings and two grandchildren. He is survived by his four children; Deanna (Bruce) Noonan, Moses Lake, WA; Glen (Lisa), Riverton, UT; Larry (Theresa), Belton, Mo; Warren (Molly), Lynden, WA; five grand-children, Steven Noonan, Michael Read, Joseph Read, Jordan Read and Jessica Brundage; many nieces and nephews and their offspring.
His memorial service will be held on April 21, 2018 at 11:00 AM at Grace Methodist Church 1756 South 10th St. West, Missoula, MT with lunch served following the service.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to Hospice of Missoula, 1900 S Reserve St, Missoula, MT 59801 or Grace Methodist Church, 1756 S 10th St W, Missoula, MT 59801.
The family wishes to thank Dr. Michael Caldwell, nurses and staff at St. Patrick Hospital and The Village Senior Residence staff for their loving care and concern for Ken.