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Kenneth Ball, 80, of Galesburg, died peacefully Thursday July 30, 2020 at home surrounded by his loving family.
Kenny was born January 14, 1940 in Canton. He was raised on the family farm in rural Canton one of nine children. After graduating from Spoon River Valley High School, Kenny enlisted in the US Army September 21, 1960. While serving in the Army Kenny was a member of the 101st Airborne “Scremaing Eagles.” He received the Senior Parachutist Badge, as well as the Expert Rifle Badge; also serving as a second class gunner. He was honorably discharged on September 20, 1963. While serving in the Army Kenny married the love of his life, Ruth Ann Combs on November 11, 1961 in London Mills. While living in London Mills, Kenny was a volunteer on the London Mills Fire Department and EMT.
Kenny began his career as a Paramedic at Galesburg Hospitals Ambulance service in 1981. He retired in 2007. Kenny decided in his 60’s that he wanted to attend mortuary school. He graduated with from the Carl Sandburg School of Mortuary Science in 1998. Although he never entered into a career in funeral service, he was always proud of this accomplishment.
Kenny had many hobbies. He enjoyed woodworking and refinishing, as well as painting and drawing. Kenny was a talented and accomplished stained glass artist. He was commissioned to create two stained glass windows at the London Mills United Methodist Church as well as several private projects. Kenny enjoyed collecting antiques including bull-dog door stops, 101st Airborne memorabilia, and searching for arrowheads.
Kenny is survived by his wife of almost 59 years, Ruth of Galesburg; two daughters, Stacy (Craig) Johnson of Bettendorf, IA and Kendel (Denis) Shenaut of Andover; and five granddaughters, Lindsay Wooldridge of Iowa City, Rachel Johnson of Blue Grass, IA, Morgan Martin of Burlington, IA, Mackenzie Martin of Milan, and Kaylee Shenaut of Andover. He is also survived by one brother, Lyle Ball of Canton; and three sisters, Charlotte Hill of East Peoria, Vivian Harr of Canton, and Eleanor Hahn of Galesburg. Along with his parents, Kenny was preceded in death by three brothers, Charles, Donald, and Gerald; and one sister, Lillian Putman.
Visitation will be 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, August 4, 2020 at Watson Thomas Funeral Home and Crematory, Galesburg. Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Wednesday, August 5, 2020 at the funeral home. Military rites will be conducted by the Knox County VFW/AMVETS/American Legion Honor Guard. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, social distancing, limited occupancy, and face masks will be required. Cremation will be accorded following services. Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society or the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Online expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family at www.watsonthomas.com.