Kenneth G. Kurth

Posted 4/13/20

MENDOTA - Kenneth G. Kurth, 84, of Mendota passed peacefully at his home on April 10, 2020 with family by his side following a year of battling pancreatic cancer.

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Kenneth G. Kurth


MENDOTA - Kenneth G. Kurth, 84, of Mendota passed peacefully at his home on April 10, 2020 with family by his side following a year of battling pancreatic cancer.

Burial with military honors will be at Resurrection Cemetery in Madison, Wis. Due to the pandemic, the family will announce at a later date a memorial Mass at Holy Cross Church, Mendota. Merritt Funeral Home, Mendota is handling arrangements.

Ken was born in Madison, Wis. in 1935 to Peter and Cecilia (Kuehn) Kurth, the eighth of nine children. He married Margaret A. Regan of Rickardsville, Iowa on Feb. 4, 1967 at St. Bernard’s Parish in Madison, Wis.

Survivors include his wife; two sons, Gregory (Robyn) of Arlington Heights and Timothy (Christine) of Alexandria, Va.; four grandchildren, Alexander and Moselle of Arlington Heights and Canon and Christian of Alexandria, Va.; and two sisters, Janet Jewell and Donna Lindauer of Madison, Wis.

He was preceded in death by his parents; three brothers, Harold, Russell and Gerald; and two sisters, Aline and Veronica. His brother, Ronald died on the same day, April 10, in Atlantic Beach, Fla.

Ken graduated from Madison East High School in 1954. After completing Quartermaster School in the U.S. Army, he served in the U.S. Army from 1956 to 1958 in Hanau, Germany. In 1973, he joined First State Bank of Mendota as a commercial lending officer. Recognizing his experience and expertise, the bank later promoted him to head its trust department, an apt role for someone everyone trusted. He retired from the First State Bank in 1999.

Ken was a pillar of his adopted community of Mendota and his civic record included service to the Kiwanis Club, the Elks Club, the Graves-Hume Public Library Board, the Mendota Lutheran Home, Holy Cross Church, and Boy Scout Troup 102. Recognizing his generosity and service, the Kiwanis Club honored Ken with the George F. Hixson Fellowship Award. As president of the then-Graves Public Library Board, Ken elicited help from his friend and philanthropist Horace Hume to fund the construction of a new library. In an interview with The Mendota Reporter, Hume credited Ken for inspiring him to build the library as a lasting tribute to Hume’s late son James. Horace Hume also knew Ken had put his heart and soul into the effort, and therefore specified the grounds nearby be recognized as Kurth Park. In April of 1993, The Chicago Tribune highlighted Mendota’s successful library campaign with an article called “Does Santa live in Mendota?”

Ken and Margaret were married for over 53 years and have fond memories of celebrating their 40th and 50th anniversaries with relatives and friends. Given his disdain of flying, Ken and Margaret experienced memorable car trips with their sons in the 70s and 80s. In retirement, he and Margaret traveled by car, bus, train, or cruise to Alaska, California, New England, Seattle, New Orleans and Canada, as well as countless trips to Florida and Washington, D.C. to visit their children and grandchildren. Inspired by the honorable service of three of his brothers in World War II, Ken was an avid reader and aficionado of World War II history – always ensuring visits to notable museums and historic sites. Friends who were Chicago Bears and Chicago Cubs fans will recall limitless razzing back and forth with him, given Ken was an unwavering advocate for the Green Bay Packers and Milwaukee Brewers.

Memorials may be directed to Graves-Hume Public Library Trust or Holy Cross Catholic School.