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Kenneth King Gowdy

Kenneth King Gowdy Kenneth King Gowdy was born on June 25, 1932 in Memphis, Tennessee. He passed away peacefully on Sunday, February 28, 2021 in Lansing, Kansas. His father was Fred Gowdy of Blue Mountain, Mississippi, and his mother was Sena Etna King, of Ackerman, Mississippi.

He attended Delphos (KS) High School where he played basketball and football (class of 1950). There he met and became friends with Dolores Hurtig, who eventually became his wife. He worked for her father in the summers during wheat harvest on a custom combining crew.

Ken attended Kansas State College (now University) from 1950-1955 receiving his B.S degree in mechanical engineering. He was a member of ROTC, the Sigma Chi fraternity, and served as class president in 1953-54. He received a football scholarship at Kansas State, where he lettered three years as a center/linebacker. His 1953 Wildcat squad was 6-3-1 and became the first of only four KSU squads to post a winning record after WWII until the Bill Snyder era began in 1989. His senior season he was named 2nd Team All Big-7, a 2nd Team Academic All-American, and he played in the North-South Shrine Football game in Miami.

After graduating, he served in the U.S. Air Force for two years from 1955-57 as a Lieutenant in the OSI. He went on to receive his M.S. in mechanical engineering from KSU, and his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Oklahoma State University. He had industrial experience with Pratt and Whitney, General Electric, Boeing, and Continental Pipeline during his Post-Graduate years.

Kenneth and Dolores we were married in Delphos, Kansas on August 24, 1952. They became the loving parents of four children: John David, Elizabeth Ann, Michael King, and Mark Alan. Family time took a priority and holidays we were often spent with relatives, as well as regular summer vacations to Colorado. After their children we were grown, Ken & Dolores enjoyed traveling together, especially to Vancouver, British Columbia.

During his almost 50-year career at K-State (except for five years at Texas A&M) Dr. Gowdy served as a dedicated and engaging Professor, Assistant Dean, Head of Engineering Technology, and Associate Dean of the College of Engineering. He was a mentor to numerous engineering students. He retired from KSU in 1997, where he remained as an Associate Dean Emeritus. Among his academic awards are Blue Key at KSU, Phi Kappa Phi at TAMU, and Fellow member of the American Society for Engineering Education, where he received the ASEE Fellow Honor Award.

As a loyal Wildcat fan, he could be seen wearing his “Golden Cat” cap at football and basketball games. In recognition of his contributions to Kansas athletics, Ken was inducted into the Minneapolis Sports Hall of Fame in 2019.

He loved to read books on subjects such as Christianity, science, physics, philosophy, biography and history, and for many years he participated with friends in a book club. Ken had a strong belief in God and was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, Kansas, serving as serving as a Sunday School teacher and a Deacon. His early morning prayer and reading scriptures evolved into writing poetry. In 1994, he published two collections of poetry called "The Beauty of God" and "The Wondrous Works of God." He spent countless hours doing genealogical research on ancestors and scanning family photos. He was especially proud of his Scots-Irish ancestry and visited Ireland with his wife.

A devoted and beloved husband, son, brother, father, grandfather, and friend, he will be greatly missed. His many sacrifices for his family, friends, and others, along with his generous acts of kindness, friendship, and love, both seen and unseen, will never be forgotten.

He is survived by his wife, Ethel Dolores, his oldest brother, Fred Wayne Gowdy (Tommie Lee), younger brother, Daniel E. Pilcher (Madie), sister, Patricia A. Pilcher/Theurer (Byron), and two sons, David (Norlene) and Mark (Teresa). He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Robert Lewis “Bob” Gowdy, his son Michael, and his daughter Elizabeth. He has eleven grandchildren and twenty-four great grandchildren.

A visitation for friends and family will be held Friday evening, March 12th, from 6:00 – 7:30 pm at the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan, KS 66502.
A private memorial service and burial will be held Saturday afternoon, March 13th, at the Delphos Cemetery.

Online condolences may be left for the family by clicking on "Send Condolences" on this page.

Memorial contributions may be made to the KSU Foundation in honor of Kenneth King Gowdy. Contributions may be left in care of the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home.

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