Grandpa Nek

We unexpectedly lost my stepdad, Ken, Wednesday afternoon. Getting the call from my mom telling me the news was the ultimate shock because Owen and I had just FaceTimed with my mom and Ken. But 45 minutes after the FaceTime ended, Ken collapsed– we believe from a heart attack.

Ken has been in my life since I was two years old and was like a father to me. He loved my brother and me like we were his own. You may have noticed that whenever I talked about Ken and my mom, I’d say “my parents”. Ken was a wonderful partner to my mom for 33 years. They celebrated 20 years of marriage in October.

My mom and Ken enjoyed trying new foods and restaurants, going to concerts and performances, and traveling together. Some of their favorite trips were to Hawaii, Mexico, Ireland, Alaska, Iceland, Seattle, Maine. Every fall they’d fly out to Portland, Oregon to spend the week with my brother.

Ken loved being a grandpa to Owen and Emmett. He’d give them the world if he could. When Owen was first learning to say “Grandpa Ken” he’d say “Grandpa Nek” instead. We all got a kick out of it, especially Ken. He was slightly disappointed when Owen finally started calling him “Grandpa Ken”.

Ken and my mom would try to see us and the boys once a month. Ken enjoyed taking the boys on rides in his golf cart, swimming in the pool, playing with them outside, doing LEGO kits with Owen, and taking them to my hometown fire station so the boys could look at and sit in fire trucks.

Ken was a retired pharmacist. He was also a retired volunteer firefighter and EMT, serving on the department for 20 years. After retirement he served on the town council for 8 years. He also volunteered his time mentoring students at the local elementary school. He was always willing to help and serve others.

He loved our family dogs Daisy, Lily, Lola, Lucy, and Jack. They could always count on regular walks around town followed by treats from Ken.

He enjoyed watching football and college basketball. As a Butler grad, Ken was always rooting for the bulldogs. He looked forward to Bears and Cubs games, fishing trips, and charity golf outings with his buddies.

I could always count on Ken for help and advice, and he’d often ask me for my input on things. Something I don’t think a lot of people in his generation do often. One of my favorite memories with Ken was when I was 14. That’s when he started giving me driving lessons on backroads in his pickup truck.

It thankful Owen was able to FaceTime with Ken and show him something he had built right before Ken passed away. It comforts me to know Owen’s voice was one of the last voices Ken heard.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we don’t feel comfortable holding a service and putting loved ones at risk. As you can imagine, the current situation has made things more isolating and heartbreaking. But we plan to hold a celebration of life in the future.

Ken was a great man who was devoted to his family and community. He will be greatly missed by many.

We love you, Grandpa Nek.

Similar Posts


  1. So sorry for your loss. You wrote a beautiful tribute to him. I am sure he is very proud of you. God bless you and your family during this difficult time.

  2. I’m so sorry for your and your family’s loss. I’m so glad he had a final FaceTime call with you guys. I hope that brings you some comfort.

  3. What a kind tribute to an amazing man! Thinking of you all ♥️

  4. I’m so sorry for your loss. Hugs to you and your family.

  5. I am so sorry for your loss Chelsea. I am so sorry for Bon too. This is devastating and I can imagine lonely. Sending prayers for you all during this difficult time.

  6. I am so sorry for your loss Chelsea. He seems like a wonderful man and grandpa to your boys ❤️

  7. Chelsea, I’m so sorry to hear this news. I knew something had to be up. I actually sent you a message. I was hoping it wouldn’t be something like this. The current situation makes things like this even harder. I’m so thankful he was a wonderful force in your life & loved your Mom so much. What a great memory that you were able to FaceTime with him! Bless you & your family!

  8. Stephanie Covitz says:

    So sorry for your loss Chelsea! Ken sounds like a great man. May your happy memories of him bring you comfort at this difficult time.

  9. I am so, so sorry. This is a beautiful tribute to Grandpa Ken.

  10. Very sorry for your loss. And special condolences to your mom.

  11. I’m so sorry. My husband is a stepfather to our oldest daughter and I know exactly how special and treasured that relationship is. Sending you love.

  12. I’m so sorry Chelsea, he sounds like he was a wonderful father and man who will be missed by all.

  13. So very sorry for your loss. He sounds like a wonderful man. Keeping your family in our thoughts and prayers.

  14. What a profound loss for you all. I’m so sorry, but so glad you got those last moments with him. Sending thoughts to your whole family right now.

  15. What a beautiful memorial to your (step) dad and grandfather to your boys. Wait for a sign from him it will bring you so much comfort! Sending virtual hugs from Colorado, laura

  16. This is a beautiful tribute to your stepdad. I lost my dad to cancer 3 months ago. We were able to hold a funeral with family, but a month later, COVID-19 struck and I haven’t seen my mom since early March, which has been really difficult. You, your mom, and your family are in my prayers.

  17. I’m so sorry, Chelsea. ❤️

  18. I’m so very sorry for your loss. How lucky your boys are, though, to have had a grandfather that loved them so. My children have two living grandfathers that have nothing to do with them. I’m sure it’s small comfort at the moment, but I would give a lot if they could have had the love yours had for any amount of time. I’m just sorry your family didn’t get to have it longer.

  19. I’m so sorry for your loss. He sounds like an incredible man. Thank you for sharing him with us.

  20. So sorry for your loss. Prayers to you and your family at this time.

  21. I’m sorry for your loss. He sounds like a wonderful man. May his memory be a blessing.

  22. I’m crying reading this. I can feel all the love and memories in your words. I am so very sorry for your loss.

  23. Debi Padgett says:

    Chelsea, so very sorry for your loss.

  24. What a beautiful tribute! So sorry for your loss.

  25. Oh, sweet pea. Giant, giant hugs to you and your whole family. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  26. My deepest condolences to all of your family. I can’t imagine going thru this now but it’s so nice that your mom has you by her side.

  27. Thank you for sharing your amazing special memories
    of Ken. The pictures you shared reflect his kindness an compassion. So sorry for your loss. He was such a special blessing in your life growing up, an as your life evolved. You have a ‘forever’ angel watching over you an your family. Sending hugs & prayers ❤️

  28. Oh, I am just so so sorry, for all of you. I’m sending so many prayers for you and your Mom, and everyone that loves your Dad. . It’s so hard to lose a loved one, but even more where the ‘normal’ grieving process has also been taken from us. Sending you all prayers full of strength, peace and lots of love…to help you get through one day at a time and when that’s hard, one hour at a time. ❤️

  29. So, so sorry for your loss. Sounds like he was a wonderful man and a blessing to your family.

  30. What a lovely tribute. He sounds like a wonderful man. My deepest sympathies to you and your family.

  31. So sorry for your loss. Praying for peace and comfort for your family, especially your mom. It sounds as if he lived a beautiful life.

  32. Deepest sympathies to you, your family, and those who knew your step-father. My sincerest hope is that with time you’ll see wonderful reminders of him and his love everywhere you are.

  33. I’m so sorry to hear this, Chelsea. Big hugs to you friend! I’m so glad you shared this with us.
    Hugs, Jamie

  34. I am so sorry for your loss. This is an incredible tribute that I am sure your entire family loves reading about Ken. That last picture in the post… how your mom and he are holding hands… priceless.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *