Kenneth Decker ’51

Kenneth Decker ’51 was born February 3, 1928 in Danforth Illinois, the son of George Eddward Decker and Angie W. Booi Decker. He passed away Sunday June 17, 2018 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Kankakee Illinois. He married Eleanor Louise Moore on September 15, 1950. She passed away February 5, 1997. He was also proceeded in death by his parents, several aunts and uncles as well as his brother Eugene Decker, his sisters Alice Mardell Mickens, Marie C. Decker Martin, an infant sister Edna Decker and an infant daughter Karlyn Michelle Decker. He is survived by his sons Kenneth M. Decker (Patricia), Keith A. Decker (Barb), daughters Kris A. Glicken (Kerry), Karla M. Felesena (Mark) and his wife Lois B. Decker. His grandchildren are Lauren C. O’Leary (Robert), Michael M. Glicken (Claudia), Ashley E. Glicken, Tony D. Felesena(Stephanie), Jenna E. Koch (Nick), Kristen M. Warman (Nate), Kyle R. Decker, Korey R. Decker, Kenneth M. Decker, Kathryn M. Decker, Kirk M. Decker(Whittni). He is also survived by his great grandchildren Ella O’Leary, Willow O’Leary, Autumn O’Leary, Ceneca Glicken, Jaelyn Koch, Kaleb Koch, Landry Koch, Anthony (AJ) Felesena Jr. and Caton Decker. Mr. Decker attended Danforth and Gilman Illinois schools then pursued his college degree atHope College in Holland, Michigan graduating in 1950. Following graduation, he taught school in McBain Michigan, then moved to Chebanse, Illinois where he taught English and other subjects in the Chebanse Middle School. From there he began his next job, teaching Driver Education and coaching Football and Track at Central High School in Clifton Illinois. He was most proud of the hundreds of students he taught to drive and the athletes he taught, especially those who were able to overcome their personal obstacles to become outstanding young citizens. He was recently recognized as a Charter Founding member of the Chebanse Lions Club where he was a member for many years. He earned a Master’s Degree from Illinois State University and left education to become the Supervisor of Driver Education in Springfield for the State of Illinois. It was there that he had his experiences, working with the State Legislature and Local, County and State agencies. Those interactions were important, as he used those contacts, in his new role working for Eastern Illinois Electrical Cooperative. There, he lobbied the General Assembly and at times the Congress of the United States regarding Rural Electrical Legislation and the needs of the rural Illinois farmer. After that tenure, he realized the importance of Sludge Application to farm land and began selling sludge application machinery with Big Wheels and Big A. That experience gave him the opportunity to begin his own business applying municipal sludge to farm land. Very quickly, he became the preeminent expert on the technique of application and the regulation of land application of municipal and farm sludge. That expertise honored him with speaking engagements in Springfield and Washington DC. and in cities across the country. He sold that business to retire to the farm in rural Chebanse, Illinois where he has spent many summers with his children and grandchildren teaching them the skills of a farmer. During the winter, he has lived in Willcox, Arizona with his wife Lois and his two sisters, Marie and Mardell. There he became the honorary Mayor of Willcox, during the winter months, with a proclamation he wrote himself and was ratified by the retired men at the local coffee shop. He will be remembered for his love of family, his empathy and willingness to help those less fortunate, as well as his many stories and jokes about life and his love of the Lord.

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