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Wilbert (Web/Wil) Eugene Kettner was born on May 11, 1928 to Julius Carl Kettner and Nettie Matilda Schrader. His birth was by a midwife in their farmhouse located six miles west of Olpe, Kansas. Web was the oldest of three children, his siblings being Eugene John, 2 years younger; and Evelyn Darlene, 5 years younger. They also raised a cousin, Barbara Ann (Schrader) Rhoads from the age of 3, who was like a sister. Web was baptized shortly after birth in May of 1928 in their Lutheran church.
Growing up, his main job was to help out on the family farm of 180 acres, milking cows and taking care of animals. He was only able to attend school up through the 8th grade, then he was expected to help on the farm year-round, which was common among farmers during the Great Depression. As a teenager, he remembers getting together with cousins and “jamming”/ playing instruments together. They even played for a radio show on Saturdays. Web’s love of music and playing instruments continued throughout his life and up until the day before his passing he enjoyed the company of his dear fellow dulcimer band members, “The Silver Strings”.
At the age of 19, he met Mary Lou Pohl at a church picnic. After 3 years of dating they were married at Messiah Lutheran in Emporia, KS in a private ceremony on February 4, 1951; Web was 22 and Mary was 19.
Web joined the Navy and was sent to Korea three times from 1952-1955. While living in San Diego and before he was shipped out to sea for 9 months, they found out they were pregnant with their firstborn daughter, Catherine “Cathy” Joy. She was born on October 31, 1954 in Emporia, KS and later passed away at the age of 9 months with Spina Bifida.
In 1956, he enrolled as a freshman at Emporia State on the GI Bill. After graduating in 1959 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Kansas State University, they moved to East Hartford, CT where he worked at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft & Plant from August 1959-December 1961, where he did experimental development engineering; he worked on the design of the combustion chamber for jet engines.
While in Connecticut, their first son Mark Alan was born on May 10, 1960. They lived in East Hartford for 2½ years, and then in December 1961, Web took a job in Belton, MO at Bendix (atomic energy) where he worked as a quality control engineer from January 1962-April 1965. Their youngest son, David Lynn was born on April 6, 1963 in Kansas City, MO. On July 5, 1965, they moved to Lee’s Summit when he switched jobs to Western Electric, as the product engineer for components for the AT&T telephone until June 1, 1987, working there ~22 years. The company ended up changing names to AT&T, and then to Lucent. He retired from what he considers Western Electric at the age of 59 on June 1, 1987. After retiring, he went to work for Mark (Kettner lawn care) by helping to mow lawns for various businesses.
On June 13, 1987, he and Mary welcomed a daughter-in-law into the family as David married college sweetheart Tana Green of Hill City, KS. To this union was added three of the biggest joys of their lives: grandchildren Rachel JoLynn, Hannah Joy, and Jacob Allan Kettner.
Wil enjoyed a long, but short 59 years with Mary before she passed on May 6, 2010 from strokes and dementia at the age of 79.
In 2017, Wil met a dear friend at McDonalds while eating breakfast, who happened to be a member of his church. Since that day Junell Bailey had become very special and stood by his side to the end.
Web has stayed a child of God throughout his life and raised his family in the same manner. He said when he passes, he wishes to be remembered as being honest, and gentle.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made out to the Concordia Joint Seminary Fund to help prospective seminary students going into the ministry, or Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church Music Ministry.Service Information:
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made out to the Concordia Joint Seminary Fund to help prospective seminary students going into the ministry, or Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church Music Ministry.
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