Ken was born April 14, 1926 in Butte to Wayne and Myra Wilson. The first 11 years of his life were spent in a rural town south of Roundup, Mont. called Ryegate. He attended a small one-room school in Emery, before the family moved to Heron, in 1937. After graduating from Noxon High School in 1944, he served in the U.S. Army.
On October 18, 1952, Ken married Lela Wise, also from Heron, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Together, they have owned a ranch in Heron for over 60 years. While satisfaction from working together would always bring the most happiness, enduring setbacks and unexpected challenges drew them closer together and built his confidence and reliance in the most trusted partner in his life. This established a very special bond between the two of them that became unbreakable and unending.
In the early days, Ken would milk cows before going to work, and then repeat the task after getting home each day. He enjoyed core drilling at both the Noxon Rapids and Cabinet Gorge Dams, and was grateful to earn extra wages to supplement growing expenses on the ranch. Ken retired after spending 27 years at the Heron school doing maintenance work.
After the death of his father, Ken became more interested in spiritual things and, in time, enjoyed attending Bible discourses with his wife and family at the Noxon Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses. Ken enjoyed hunting, fishing, wood working, farming, playing old tunes on the guitar or fiddle for the family, and telling stories about some experiences such as farming with horses, cutting ice during the winter for the summer coolers, snagging salmon along the Heron rapids, and working with neighbors over the years, plus clearing stumps with dynamite, to name just a few. Often such stories would conclude with, “such is life in the far, far west!” If you were from eastern Montana, Ken could find something in common to share, either from a name or some other detail, and would always find his way back to the little town, Ryegate.
He is survived by his wife Lela Wilson of Heron; one daughter Sandra King of Plains,; four sons Gary (Sharon) Wilson of Heron, Jim (Shirley) Wilson of Trout Creek, Tom (Joy) Wilson of Heron, and Lyn (Culli) Wilson of Noxon, 13 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews..
Ken’s sister, Audrey Sellmer, resides in Heron. He was preceded in death by his parents and three brothers Calvin, Clarence, Harold, and a kind and caring son-in-law Rusty King.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Sat. April 21 at the Noxon High School Gymnasium.
Lakeview Funeral Home in Sandpoint is handling the arrangements. Please visit Ken’s online memorial at lakeviewfuneral.com and sign his guest book.