Kenneth Weiser: a good listener, pleasant to be around


Kenneth Dale Weiser, 86, grew up in the small town of Madison, MN known to some as the Lutefisk Capital of the World, don’t ya know?  He was born there on October 12, 1935 to his mother Hazel Hortense Weiser (Beeson) and father Wayne Willard Weiser.

In his later years, Ken resided in Rockton, IL and was cared for by his son Wayne and his wife Diana (DeeDee) Weiser. Ken was diagnosed with hydrocephalus in 2012 and underwent surgery to help slow down the effects of the disease that caused dementia and ultimately contributed to his death on Sept. 29, 2022.

His senior year of high school, Ken moved from the small town of Madison, MN to the big city of Mankato, MN.  His family recalls, "Dad was upset at first but was welcomed to the new school with open arms and a fresh start. He was happy to be known as Ken until one of his best friends, who moved from his former hometown, saw him down the hallway and screamed his old nickname PEEWEE! Dad cringed with embarrassment!"

Ken felt it was his duty to join the Army National Guard in which he served from 1954 to 1956 spending the majority of his time in Germany as Specialist Second Class. When he returned home, he attended Mankato State University and joined the gymnastics team while completing his bachelor of science degree in mathematics. Ken met the beautiful Karen Swenson at Mankato State and after being married on September 13, 1958, the couple moved to Shorewood, WI, which is just north of Milwaukee. There he began his 45 year career in actuarial and data services at Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company.

Ken enjoyed being in a routine. As children, the family remembers walking around Dad on the floor doing exercises every morning until the tea kettle whistled in the kitchen. He carpooled to work at NML and attended many company leagues such as Bridge Club and Golf League. His family says, "Mom and Dad were involved at Kingo Lutheran Church. We remembered helping Dad count the offerings Sunday after church stuffing coins and stamping the back of checks."  Dad was a member of the Church Dart Club, The Couples Bowling League and The Bridge Club.

His family recalls, "Ken took many family pictures and movies throughout the years, just as his father did. We always enjoyed and anticipated family slideshows and movies in our pajamas with popcorn, of course. We went on a three week family trip each year and took our treks in the summer and winter to Minnesota. Family history books and stories... People have shared stories and said that Ken always greeted them with a smile, was a good listener, was always in a happy mood and pleasant to be around... We were blessed to take a recent trip in 2019 to one of his favorite places, the Weiser family farm in Hazleton, ND to visit over 200 family members that gather every 5 years."

He was preceded in death by his wife Karen (Swenson) Weiser and his sister Patricia (Patsy) Moen, brother-in-laws Rufus Wilson married to Ken’s sister Colleen Wilson, and Ralph Etherington married to Ken’s sister Roberta Etherington. 

Ken was blessed to have many family members who loved him:

  • Ken’s daughter Tracy Jo Weiser, his son Wayne Kenneth Weiser and daughter-in-law Diana Weiser will miss their beloved father.
  • Grandchildren: Conrad Weiser, Felicia & Chris Zawada, Jacob & Jessie Konaszewski, Joshua Konasewski, Kelsie & Justin Paholski, Courtney Ovist, Brooke Irwin, Corbin Ovist and McKayli Vann
  • Great-grandchildren: Ethan & Thomas Zawada, Macey Paholski, Caysen Orsborn, CeJay Ovist 
  • and his daily visitor and family companion, our cute Shorkie, Finnley.

We will celebrate Ken's life next summer in Minnesota with a military tribute. Time and place to be confirmed.

Ken wished for us to honor his sisters, wife, and children who all experienced battles with cancer. Feel free to donate to the American Cancer Society in his name.

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