Ken Wall died peacefully on April 8, 2021, at the age of 87. He recently shared with his family, Kirk (Gwendolyn Judson) Wall (of Madison), and Colin Wall, of Portland Oregon, that his favorite song is “I Remember You”. The song reminded him of Dixie, his wife who preceded him in death. One of his favorite gifts of the past few months was a recording of the song performed by his grandson and his wife Judson and Clare Riviere (of Phoenix, Arizona). He was transported somewhere else every time he heard it. It comforted him to think of seeing Dixie and their many rescued pets again.
Ken loved music and it is no surprise that he found comfort in song these past weeks. He played Banjo and sang in his high school choir. In his college years, he sang baritone in barbershop quartets including the Four Counts and The Sandmen. But it was songs shared with friends that truly were the times that made Ken the happiest. He was known for his grilled turkeys and nothing made him happier than inviting everyone over for a barbecue, a beer, and a song. The quickest way into Ken’s good graces was to show up with a guitar, banjo, or ukulele.
Stories also played a large role in Ken’s life. He graduated from St Norbert College with a BA in English Literature and was proud of his college education. As a young adult he enjoyed acting in local theaters including the UW Center Players and the Green Bay Community Playhouse. And when he graduated he became an English teacher and worked for many years until his retirement at Preble High School. He enjoyed coaching the Academic Competitions and producing many High School plays. Many of his former students have shared that they owe their love of literature and poetry to Ken’s passion for the written word.
His love of literature and words never diminished. He was an avid reader of books, loved the daily crossword, was always up for a game of Scrabble, and was well known to enjoy sharing a limerick or two.
Ken had many passions he enjoyed throughout his life. He looked forward to writing and receiving hand written letters. He spent time painting and drawing. Each year he looked forward to planting his Spring garden. He loved cooking in his later years, collected Penzey spices, and enjoyed trying new recipes. You could always count on leaving his house with food, especially some of his famous pea soup.
Ken loved to reminisce about time spent with his family and friends. He would tell of the legendary Scrabble weekends with his brother Jack and his wife Shirley Wall (of Sheboygan). He looked forward to evening cocktails with his neighbors and dearest friends Dave and Sherry Raduenz (of Green Bay). Long time family friends Rob and Teri Ozarowicz (of Green Bay) helped Ken in so many ways, but it was the talks over a beer and pictures of their children that brought the smile to his face.
Ken also leaves behind his daughter Shannon (Dana) Wolle (of Lodi) and multiple cousins. He is preceded in death by his parents, Sophie and James Wall (of Green Bay), and several siblings including Robert, Cathy, Gwen, and Marie.
There will be a barbecue celebration of Ken’s life this summer, time to be determined at a later date. Be sure to get the beer chilling and the guitars ready. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to First Nations Development Institute as Ken felt very strongly about empowering First Nations members and communities.