September 18, 1923 – August 18, 2013
Kennith Yeager departed this mortal existence on Aug. 18 at the Ness City Hospital, Ness City, Kan. He is now in the embrace of heavenly Father after a long and heroic struggle with Parkinson’s disease. His partner of 70 years, Lorine Yeager, was at his side until the end.
Kennith was born to pioneer parents in Pondera County in 1923. His stories of ranching and farm-life were the stuff of another era — the opening of the American West. The family lived in a homestead house, butchered chickens, milked cows, hauled water and bathed in a metal tub. At a young age, Ken learned to put up hay using a buck rake, herd cattle on horseback, drive tractor and the myriad other tasks of farming and ranching. He recalled, with joy, the roundups and a grand train ride clear to Chicago to deliver cattle.
The boy from the flatlands learned to love the Rockies. They were a family destination for fishing and gathering huckleberries. He noted in his life story that the really big fish were up in the Hungry Horse area and on Stanton Creek.
The ranch work and trips to the Rockies continued through high school with one very significant difference — Ken met the love of his life, Lorine Walston. Their courtship included dances, 5-cent movies and lots of ice cream. They were married in 1943. With the coming of World War II and brothers in uniform, Ken shouldered the operation of the ranch with his young wife. In the early 1950s, they struck out for California with their first three children, Gary, Karen and Julie. Ken operated a chicken farm for a time and became a painting contractor. A fourth child, Irvin, was born in California.
In the early 1960s, the family returned to Montana to resume Ken’s true vocation of ranching and farming. They returned to Pondera County just north of Conrad at the place they named “The K-bar-6.” To supplement the ranch income, Ken ran bulls, painted and sold beef. No one worked harder to provide for a family.
The K-bar-6 became the home base for fishing, hunting and hiking adventures into the Rockies for the four children and, in time, for the grandchildren. Ken provided in every way he could for his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren; most especially with an abundance of love.
In the 1990s, Ken accompanied Irvin to establish feedlots in Washington and then Kansas. Into his 80s, he found tremendous pleasure working the corrals. He was a rancher through and through. In his latter days, he relished fishing the waters of the Pacific, the Gulf and particularly, Alaska.
Ken provided the model for his family: Greet every person and every day with a smile; Work and play hard; Realize the joy to be found in simple things; Love each and every family member; Devote yourself to your spouse.
Kennith is survived by his wife, Lorine; his children, Gary and Bobbi Yeager of Conrad, Karen and Terry Nelson of Ridgefield, Wash., Julie and Rick Alexander of Camas, Wash., and Irvin and Rose Yeager of Scott City, Kan.; 21 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren. Ken found great joy in spending time with each child.
He was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A memorial service will be held in Scott City, Kan., with a burial service in Conrad. Price & Sons Funeral Home in Scott City is handling the arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.