OBITUARY

Kenneth F. Huston

December 31, 1919May 22, 2019

Kenneth Foley Huston was born December 31m 1919 to Robert and Martha Huston at their home on St. Bernard Hill in Missouri City, Missouri. His siblings were Robert (Jr.), Mary, Arvel (Dutch) and Faye. They were an industrious family that lived on a bluff overlooking the Missouri river where they provided nearly everything they needed to sustain themselves at a time when things weren’t readily available for everyone. The Huston family’s 7+ acre homestead included chickens, hogs, cows, bee hives, apple trees, peach trees, apricot trees, pear trees, plum trees, mulberry trees, raspberries, strawberries, potatoes, popcorn, sweet corn, and nearly every vegetable imaginable. They would trade things like honey for other items they didn’t have with Neighbors and the general store for sugar and flour. Kenny was close in age to Dutch and the two of them spent a lot of time together growing up. They most often made their own toys with what they had laying around. Kenny’s first job in 1932 was picking potatoes for $0.10 per 100lb. funny sack, usually earning $2-$4 a day. In 1932 he was part of a youth Orchestra where he played Bass Horn and Baritone Horn. His first full time job was at Hyder’s garage at the bottom of St. Bernard Hill Rd. in Missouri City where he would perform all kinds of repairs and modifications to cars and trucks for customers. In 1938 he graduated Missouri City High School in a class of 10 students. Kenny and Betty Ann Walters began dating when he was in high school to later become married July 22, 1942. Kenny and Betty had one child, Philip Terrance Huston on November 21, 1944. Prior to Terry’s birth, Kenny was called into service with the Army for World War ll at Fort Leavenworth on February 5th 1943. There he served as a prison guard there to later be assigned to the Army Print & Parcel Post Office in New York (Long Island). While working the Army Post Office in Long Island, he also worked nights or evenings hand trucking freight at New York Central and Pennsylvania Railroad yards as well as working as a file clerk at Sacs Fifth Avenue. While working at Sacs, a B52 Bomber crashed into the Empire State Building on July 28, 1945. After returning from service, he returned to his previous employer in Missouri City (Hyder) where he learned he was wanted as a machinist at an auto parts store where he began working again. Kenny, Betty, and Terry moved to Raytown in 1949 to Wildwood Lakes on Sterling where he lived up to his last days. Wildwood Lakes was a close-knit community of many Veteran families with three lakes (fishing, swimming, and spawning). The fishing lake was private for members only and the swimming lake was open to the public. It was a separate facility with a huge swimming area and beaches. There was also a big clubhouse with an indoor stage as well as an outdoor stage, which hosted performers such as Pat Boone, Connie Francis, Marilyn May, The Mcguire Sisters, The Four Ladd’s, the Ames Brothers, The Decastro Sisters, and many others. Among other contributions to the home owners club, Kenny build 10 boat docks on the fishing lake in the cove north of the dam. As well as helping to maintain the fishing lake which required restocking and other maintenance.

Kenny contributed to Terry’s boy scouting experience by building the pack camping trailer and different educational props and entertainment displays for the boys. Kenny later was awarded Honorary Warrior Tribesman in the Mic-O-Say tribe at Camp Bartle in Osceola, MO with a tribal name of Shining Silver Rock. This was awarded this for his great contributions to the Boy Scout Troop he was serving. It was an unexpected and great honor for him.

Kenny’s next employment was at Lake City Arsenal as a mechanic assigned to the bullet assembly department. He was then tasked to be the Maintenance Superintendent to work in every department in order to help the plant improve in all areas after having just re-opened from being moth-balled after the war. His next and last place of employment was at Havens Steel in Maintenance where he eventually became Maintenance Supervisor. He worked there from 1955 until 1990 when he retired from employment. At havens, he took on many responsibilities; too many to list here other than, after he retired, he was asked by Havens Steel Company to come back for employment and part ownership of the new plant being built over in China. He declined the offer. Kenny never had to apply for a job, his entire career as he was always asked to come and work at each job, always being referred by someone for each position.

In 1955 Kenny joined the Raytown Masonic Lodge, Scottish Rite. There he became a 32nd degree Freemason and also became an Ararat Shriner.

1966 was a difficult year for the family as Betty passed away on February 5th as a result of a long term heart condition that had nearly killed her many years before during the birth of her only child Terry. The next time Kenny found someone worth spending time with was in 1983 when his daughter-in-law, Barbara Huston introduced him to Dorothy Hartman whom he spent approximately the next 19 years of his life with until her passing November 13, 2003.

In 1977 Kenny purchased a farm north of Kidder, MO where he raised soybeans. He maintained the farm between himself and a farm hand that helped when he wasn’t there. In 1996 he sold the farm as it became loss important among other things going on in his life. Immediately following his retirement from Havens Structural Steel, Kenny went immediately into full-time work as a volunteer for the Save A Connie Inc./Airline History Museum at the Kansas City Downtown Airport, where he had been volunteering on a part-time basis since 1987 when he first joined the organization. There, he helped with all aspects of mechanical work on the restoration of the TWA Lockheed Constellation (Connie) 7 hours a day for 5 days a week, sometimes a 6th day on Sunday if the plane had just flown back in from an airshow. He spent 2 years on the Board of Directors, attended several airshows, created many mechanical devices and apparatus critical in prestart-up operations and also had a hand inabout every aspect of rebuilding and maintenance of the plane. He truly loved the work just as much as the relationships he built throughout the years there at the Connie group. Among those relationships was that of his brother Dutch, who was a retired TWA employee responsible for engine maintenance and overhaul for the Connie engines at TWA as well as with the Save A Connie group. Dutch was the one who suggested Kenny become involved with the project. Kenny was awarded for his ingenious construction and fabrication skills by the Airline History Museum.

Kenny’s last endeavor began in 2008 upon the inquiry of a family member into the subject of the Huston family genealogy and lasted for over 6 years. Kenny claims that among this and his memoirs, it was the most difficult project he had ever undertaken. The information he provided is invaluable to the family and the effort is extremely appreciated.

Kenny was diagnosed with Leukemia November 2015 and was on Chemotherapy with news of remission up through the end of 2018. The prostate cancer, which he had had for a couple of decades became much more aggressive in the last few months, was what changed everything rather abruptly. He was not one to complain about his symptoms, but those closest understood that he was probably far more uncomfortable than he led all to believe. It was his nature to not burden others with any of his problems. He was giving, caring, loving, a teacher, independent, and wisdom keeper of sorts to those who knew him. He was an ultimate problem solver throughout his entire life and his relationships and the friends he made all along are the reflection of his good nature and kindness.

He was alert and conversational with visitors up until early Tuesday just before 1:00 am May 21st. He passed away quickly of the cancer on May 22, 12:01am at KC Hospice House. He leaves behind his son, Philip Terrance Huston, daughter-in-law Barbara Ann Huston, grandchildren Kenneth Drake Huston and Leah Lynn Laing, and 7 great-grandchildren Adelaide Elizabeth Laing, Kenneth Trace Huston, Jonas Paul Laing, Elise Noel Huston, Reagan Elizabeth Laing, Kellan Paul Laing, and Sophie Elizabeth Laing. He was greatly loved and will be greatly missed by all. Memorial contributions in Kenneth's name may be made to Kansas City Hospice House.

See the below links to get an impression of Kenny's handiwork.

http://www.wildwoodlakehoa.com/about.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moD6yJvN5dI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBhpvInbdxk

Services

  • Visitation Sunday, June 2, 2019
  • Funeral Service Sunday, June 2, 2019

Memories

Kenneth F. Huston

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Pattie Phillips

June 2, 2019

What a wonderful man! Kenny was alway so caring and kind to me and my family. Rest In Peace Kenny , you will be missed.

Jim Phillips

May 31, 2019

What a life! Kenny was such a warm and caring man. He would do anything for anyone to help them. He was the consummate engineer - designing and creating new things to make peoples’ lives easier. He was such a hard worker - working more than a full time job at Havens Steel and then going to his farm and working a long weekend. I remember when he was working 12 hour shifts and then tending to soybeans. So typical of Kenny - One day he retired from Havens and then the next day he started his volunteer job at the Connie.

He was especially caring and kind to a very special person in my life - my Grandma (Dorothy Hartman). They shared so much during their time together and in her final years was such a great caretaker. One of the things they really enjoyed was dancing together! And now they can dance together again.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY