NORMAL — Ken Douglas, 73, of Normal, passed away Monday (Dec. 29, 2014) resting comfortably at his residence following a battle with cancer.
Ken had a full life in which he was known for his integrity, honesty, fairness, clear reasoning and generosity, traits that rewarded him with fast and lasting friends no matter where he traveled. He was a successful farmer and a loyal family man, and made sacrifices as a dependable man who always put the welfare of loved ones before his own.
Born in Lincoln on Dec. 9, 1941, two days after the invasion of Pearl Harbor, Ken quickly grew into a hard and determined farmer with a special love for Angus cattle. He was spending his days in the field on a tractor by the age of 9, with his labor broken each summer by long periods of showing cattle at state and county fairs, which gave him a lifetime of pleasurable stories to tell.
Growing up participating in 4-H and FFA, Ken grew a special talent for judging cattle, and continued to do so in college at Illinois State University. Despite some tempting offers to have a life in the cattle industry, his loyalty was with the family farm in Mason City, where he farmed with his father, Ray, and brother, Donald, before finally retiring from farming at the age of 62.
Ken was a dedicated family man who met his wife, Luann, in high school and remained a loyal husband for more than 51 years to the time of his death. He and Luann raised two sons, Brett and Jeff, and were as devoted to parenting as to their marriage. Even when busy in the fields, Ken rarely missed a chance to attend baseball games and would not reject a request to shoot baskets at the rickety hoop standing before the cattle lot, where a badly missed shot held special hazards.
Ken took great joy in his five grandchildren and made enormous sacrifices for their benefit.
Ken was preceded in death by his parents, Velma and Ray Douglas, and one brother, Donald Douglas.
He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Luann Douglas; his two sons, Brett (Iris) and Jeff (Tien) Douglas; brother, Melvin (Marilyn) Douglas; and sister, Linda (Russ) Lockenour; grandchildren, Austin, Christopher, Jacqueline, James and Audrey; as well as Melissa Watson, who has been close to Ken and his family since their move to Normal, and was like a daughter to him.
Though a multitude of people have made such a great impact on Ken and has family throughout Ken's life, a few special people and organizations who were critically important in his final years bear mentioning: the entire staff of the OSF Cancer Center for their expertise and warm care; the OSF Home Care Services Hospice staff who made his final weeks pass in comfort; and family and friends whose concern was uplifting and heartfelt. In addition, Ken and his family are grateful to the many clinicians and therapists, many of whom were ISU students, who worked diligently to care for and educate his grandson, Christopher Douglas.
Visitation for Ken will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at Hurley Funeral Home in Mason City. Cremation rites have been accorded. A private family burial will be at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Illinois State University Foundation. Please note in the memo line Account 462-5457, The Autism Place.
Hurley Funeral Home in Mason City is assisting the family with the arrangements.
Memorial messages can be left for the family at www.hurleyfh.com.