Kenneth, age 86, (known as “Ken”) Lee Kinner died peacefully in his sleep on July 4, 2019 in Ogden, Utah.
Ken, along with his twin sister, Eleanor Kay, was born on May 28, 1933, during the heart of the Great Depression, in Sparks, Nevada to Eleanor Lee Kinner and their older brothers, Richard and Vernon. Their father, Albert Vernon Kinner, passed away prior to the twin’s birth.
Ken and his twin sister were deaf at birth. Educational opportunities for deaf children at the time were limited and there were no suitable programs near their Nevada home. In 1939, at the age of six, the twins were enrolled at the Utah School for the Deaf (USD). It was a new beginning not just in terms of education, but also in developing the language and culture of the Deaf. The community at USD became their family, particularly since they only returned to their Nevada home during school breaks.
Until the family was able to relocate to Utah, the twins, along with other deaf children, commuted to school via the Southern Pacific Railroad from Sparks, Nevada to the Union Station in Ogden, Utah. This experience was especially unique to Ken’s generation of deaf children resulting in cherished stories of friendship, fun and mischief while traveling to and from school.
Ken was 11 years old when the family relocated to Utah, to be closer to USD. With the support of his family, Ken continued to excel in academics, sports and leadership. He was very outgoing and would often choose to stay at the USD dorms so he could participate in various USD sports, activities and student government.
At USD, Ken also participated in various vocational trainings and decided to specialize in printing, which landed him a printing job at the Inland Printing Company at age 17. He continued working as a printer while attending USD and beyond graduation in 1954.
His career in printing included positions with the Salt Lake Tribune (4 years) and the Ogden Standard Examiner (44 years), where he finally retired after 57 years in the industry.
Ken married his sweetheart, Ilene Coles, on September 11, 1959. They established their home in Ogden, Utah. There they raised their two children, Deanne and Duane, who were also Deaf and who would continue the Kinner legacy at USD.
Ken served on the Utah Association of the Deaf Board for 19 years and Ned C. Wheeler Scholarship Foundation for the Deaf for 37 years. He was an admired and well-respected member of the Utah Deaf community.
Ken was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He played an integral role in establishing leadership positions for deaf members in the Ogden Branch for the Deaf and held many leadership callings. Ken served two terms as Branch President from 1969-1975 and 1994-1999.
Ken had passion for family history; he loved taking pictures and making videos and sharing information with family and friends. As a longtime member of the Utah Deaf community and a history enthusiast, he opened the gates to Utah’s untold and rich Deaf History.
And finally, Ken enjoyed having fun with family and friends doing all sorts of activities such as camping, fishing, hunting, and sports. Leaving those he loved with many wonderful and fond memories.
Ken is survived by his wife, Ilene, and children, Deanne Montgomery and Duane (Jodi) Kinner, three foster children, Travis Kayhart, Renee Solis and Hines Tahu, 7 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren, and two more on the way. He was preceded in death by his parents, Albert Victor Kinner and Eleanor Lee; siblings, Richard Ervin Kinner, Albert Vernon Kinner, Eleanor Kay Kinner (Curtis) and Theodore Thomas Long Jr. Ken is the last of his generation to leave this earthly life.
A funeral service, celebrating and honoring the life of Kenneth Lee Kinner will be held Saturday, July 13 at 11:00 AM. A viewing will also be held on Friday evening from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM and again on Saturday at 9:00 AM, two hour prior to the funeral service. Both services are located at the Ogden Valley Deaf Branch for the Deaf, 5640 South 850 East, Ogden, UT. Interment: Centerville City Cemetery.
IN LIEU OF FLOWERS, please consider a donation to the Kenneth Kinner Memorial fund (# 9111212) with America First Credit Union to help pay for medical expenses.