Jan 25, 1933 – Jul 21, 2001
Ken’s constant love for his family & friends, his affection for animals both tame & wild, his inspirational steel guitar music, his talent for carving a piece of wood or anything into a piece of art or a musical instrument, and his eagle-eye for color & texture in his paintings gives this prospector his stake for a claim in a life well-lived and joyfully remembered.
Eulogy by Diane Babcock
The Artful Logger
His legacy is as handsome as the man himself.
A man who passionately studies to ripen his talents
He’ll entertain you with what he’s learned
And spark the dormant dreams in all of us.
A playful soul with more than a lick of compassion
For a baby raccoon even, orphaned by a tree that has fallen.
This cowboy treats his horse like a friend who rides with him
And his family and friends are all brothers and sisters.
I think you’re starting to get the picture.
Now…picture Ken, the artist
His paintbrush poised above the canvas
As if it’s waiting for instructions from the master.
What does this man want to reflect in his dabbles and strokes?
His handiwork reveals a skillfully embedded mirror in the scenery
So that you might see yourself in his work.
Learn from the craftsman
Who shapes a piece of wood
And sands it contentedly for hours.
Then wraps wire strings around metal posts for the head
He pulls them taught down the neck and secures them across the body.
With calculated tightening of the wires
He refines a multitude of harmonies
And the wood has been transformed into a steel guitar…”dobro” to be precise.
Listen to the musician as he plays.
The plucking of strings with a guitar pick
And the gliding of steel across wire
Make an exotic twang of a sound.
The entertainer muses upon a melody
About something that impassions him.
When the song is ready he plays it for you
And you are rapt in resonating rhythms.
That is a gift from the player.
If you want to watch Ken work
Learn to walk straight uphill
In the middle of a valley that doesn’t have a name.
Go into the bunkhouse
Where he shakes the mountain dust off his boots.
He’ll be crafting some leather
Or jamming with “moon” and “potlicker”
As they ramble on about life outside the valley.
The prospector will show you how to scrape a rock
To identify the composition of ores and minerals.
Some days he’ll be gossiping about gold mines
And tattling of their whereabouts.
He’ll have you feverish for treasure.
Sometimes…he sounds like a dreamer
When he talks about gold mines.
Perhaps it’s another bear story…you think.
Don’t doubt these gold mines are there…though
And he knows how to stake a claim if he wants to.
But…Ken also knows where the real gold is…
And that is his legacy.