Cover photo for Ken Hungerford's Obituary
Ken Hungerford Profile Photo
1926 Ken 2015

Ken Hungerford

October 16, 1926 — October 20, 2015

Helena - Funeral service for Ken Allen Hungerford, 89, will be Friday, October 23, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. at Helena First Christian Church with Chaplain Dennis King. Burial will follow at Good Hope Cemetery. Viewing will be Thursday, October 22, 2015 from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. with family present from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Ken Allen Hungerford was the first and only son of Leonard Beverly and Violet Allen Hungerford. He was born October 16, 1926 in Spearville, Kansas, but shortly thereafter moved with his family and newborn sister, Norene to the place he would call home forever... Oklahoma. Aside from a few years when his father found work in Enid during the Depression, Ken spent most of his childhood on family farms... the first owned by his grandfather, Chet Hungerford and the second by great grandfather, Charles William Hungerford. In 1938 toward the end of the Dust Bowl, the purchase of a $1500 steel-wheeled combine by his dad and grandfather, inspired in 12-year-old Ken a lifelong passion for growing and harvesting wheat.

After receiving his 8th grade diploma from Pleasant Ridge Country School, Ken entered Helena High School. When World War II erupted, Ken heard and answered the call of Uncle Sam, but at the young age of 16 he was turned away by the military. Ken, however, was not deterred. A few days after his 17th birthday in 1943, his junior year of high school, the United States Marine Corp took charge of Ken's education.

Boot camp for Ken was in San Diego, California, and then it was on to the infamous Pacific Theater and islands by the name of Guadalcanal and Guam.....certainly no place for a boy, and it was there that Ken came of age and grew in wisdom.

Ken was discharged from the Marines in 1946, the same year his high school sweetheart, Marilyn, graduated from Helena. After another three years of courtship, Marilyn finally consented, and the two were married on December 27, 1949 in the Helena Christian Church. To this union were born seven children... Kim, Kip, the twins.. Chris and Craig, Kirk, Candace and Colette.

There is no doubt that Ken Allen Hungerford's exemplary character was molded in the depths of the Great Depression, by the turbulent winds of the Dust Bowl, and from the trauma of World War II. He emerged from these historic events a man of integrity, whose work ethic, perseverance, honesty and compassion made him a natural leader at home and in the community.

Ken was a worker, a doer! No job was unworthy of his efforts, and any job he undertook was done well. Throughout the course of life, he did whatever he had to do to provide for his family. He cut wheat, sold clothes, pumped gas, moved dirt with his dozer, worked in a salvage yard, peddled boats and even did factory work for Boeing Aircraft in Wichita. However, it was when Ken began checking records and buying oil and gas leases for Cecil Samuel Davis that his fortunes changed. Ken persevered in the oil and gas industry working his way through the ranks, and finally the fruition of his efforts culminated when he put together his own successful, leasing, drilling and production company, Hungerford Oil and Gas.

"Hunkie," as he was fondly called, became a community icon. He was the "go to" man because he could get things done. People paid attention when Ken spoke. Wheels turned when Ken wrote a letter, and he wrote many letters on behalf of family, friends and the community. The walls in Ken's office hold a plethora of commendations and awards of recognition for his community endeavors. He supported and was a member of many organizations which included the American Legion, Chamber of Commerce, Volunteer Fireman, Helena-Goltry School Board, the Helena Historical Society and of course, his local "gang" of cronies which included lifelong friends, Red Sturgeon, Norman Woodall and Gary Crissup.

Ken was a man of compassion. He grew up in hard times, and he never forgot what it was like to be "without." He gave freely of his time and money to his family, friends and organizations... especially organizations that benefited children or wounded and paralyzed veterans and to his church. When Ken recognized genuine need he never hesitated to lend a hand. He wrote checks, tore up checks, forgave debts, made loans, paid bills, solicited donations, arranged finances and in general took care of things for a lot of people. It wasn't out of character for his good will gestures to remain anonymous. That's just the kind of guy he was!

Perhaps, the most outstanding quality in Ken was his love for his country. Ken was a true patriot. His esteem for the American flag and military people, present and past, who put country ahead of self was magnanimous. One need only visit the War Memorial South of Helena to know Ken and to understand what was important to him. Ken rarely talked about his own experiences in the military, but his work at the War Memorial speaks volumes about the heart and soul of a truly great man.

Ken's work on Earth was finished October 20, 2015, at the age of 89 years when he departed to drive his combine through the gates of heaven... and join his daughter, Candace and his two sons, Kim and Chris who preceded him in death.

On this Earth he leaves many to mourn, but his rich legacy filled with countless acts of kindness, fond memories and funny stories will put smiles on faces for many years to come.

Ken's Earthly next of kin include his wife and companion of 65 years, Marilyn; sister, Norene Hungerford Werner; daughter, Colette McBride and husband, Marty of Balko; son, Kirk Hungerford of Helena; son, Craig Hungerford and Deb Adams of Wichita Falls, Texas; son, Kip Hungerford and wife, Rhonda of Helena; grandchildren, Kyle and Kory Hungerford of Colorado, Jennifer and Kasey Hungerford of California, Brittany Johnson and husband, Van of Hennessey, Bethany Lanie and husband, Trent of Wakita, Bailey and Caleb McBride of Balko; great grandchildren, Kristyn Packard, Chloe Hungerford and Zayden Lanie; one great great grandchild, Kourtlyn Lane; in-laws, R.J. Stookey and wife, Juliette of Montana, Dortha Stookey Duncan of Alva and Lorena Stookey Clayton of Wichita, Kansas.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ken Hungerford, please visit our flower store.


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