Ken died peacefully early Friday morning, January 22, 2021. Ken was a loving and caring husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
Ken was born July 24, 1925 in northeast Kansas City, Missouri to Nicholas and Josephine Brummel. His family’s home life was typical of the northeast community - working class, close knit and Catholic. He was the second of four siblings who were extremely close and dedicated to one another throughout their lives. He grew up during the depression and this impacted his focus on thrift throughout his life. He attended Holy Cross Catholic School and Northeast High School. In 1943 Ken proudly joined the Marine Corps to defend our country during WWII serving in the Pacific Theater. He is one of the Great-Generation, yet he said little of his time in the service; he was the ever-dutiful son, writing home to his mother religiously throughout his time overseas no matter what circumstances; he wanted to reassure her he was well and safe (frequently hiding from her the dangers he faced).
Upon discharge from the Marines in 1946, he immediately went to work for Western Electric (AT&T) where he would spend his entire 40-year career working upward through the ranks. In 1946, introduced through a mutual friend, it was his great good fortune to meet the first love of his life, Alice Lucille McKinnon. Following a brief courtship, they were married in 1948 and started their lives together living in the Northeast neighborhood not far from his childhood home. Soon after, they began their family and ultimately needed a larger home. Like so many, they built a new home in what was then largely open fields in Overland Park, Kansas near 83rd and Lamar. Ken resided in this home for the next 65 years; together, they raised their four children – Barb, Ed, Robert and Jim. Ken and Alice built the quintessential 50’s/60’s era family; lovingly raising their children in the traditions of the times; Baptisms and First Communions, annual driving summer vacations, large family centered holiday gatherings, playing cards and drinking beer with his siblings and their spouses late into the evenings, Camp Fire and Scouts, hunting and fishing trips (and teaching his boys how to properly use, care for and respect a gun!), trips to the farms of nearby relatives, gardening, etc. While working fulltime and raising a family, Ken spent more than a decade going to night school at UMKC, ultimately attaining his Bachelors Degree in Business Administration in 1968. He was very proud of being the first member of his family to graduate from college. Ken was always inquisitive, always wanting to know how something worked, always wanting to learn more and always wanting to pass it on to others. Before it was trendy to be environmental Ken was; he re-plumbed his house to have a grey water system such that the water could be redirected to his garden – he just loved to tinker (as much as he loved to be frugal!). He could fix anything! Most tragically, Alice passed away suddenly in 1979 leaving Ken in the role of a single parent with 2 children still at home.
Fortunately, he soon met the second love of his life, Zita Elizabeth Grilliot. At the time, Zita was serving as the Principal at Cure of Ars. Ken and Zita were married in 1982 and have relished life together these last 38 years. Ken retired in 1986. Ken and Zita have shared their retirement together, taking many trips both here in the US and internationally, most frequently on mission trips to Central and South America. They loved to travel - frequently with friends - and to immerse themselves with local peoples, language, and culture. Through the years, Ken and Zita welcomed their many grandchildren (6) and great-grandchildren (7) to celebrate holidays, birthdays and, frankly, any days exploring their yard, learning at his work bench, playing Wiffle ball in the backyard, Easter Egg hunts, getting gum from the “gum” tree, shooting off his carbide cannon on the 4th of July, or simply sitting on the floor playing a variety of classic toys and games with them. It is what truly made him happy; more than anything he loved and cherished his family; that is where he found happiness, peace and love. Most recently Ken and Zita have resided at Lakeview Village Care Center. They have been an integral part of that community for the past 3+ years as they have together battled the challenges they faced dealing with Parkinson’s disease.
Ken is preceded in death by his parents, Nicholas Brummel and Josephine Brummel. His siblings; Nick, Dorothy, and Gene. His dearly beloved first wife, Alice Lucille Brummel. He is survived by his loving wife, Zita Elizabeth Brummel, his daughter, Barbara Jean (Brummel) Cassias and her husband, Charles (Casey) Cassias, his sons; Edward Alan Brummel, Robert Louis Brummel and his partner, Joyce Burroughs, and James Joseph Brummel and his wife, Elizabeth Brummel. In addition, he is survived by his cherished grandchildren; Kyle Cassias and his wife, Clare, Cassandra (Cassias) Miles and her husband, Ryan, Nicholas Brummel, Nathan Brummel and his wife, Elizabeth, Ian Brummel and his partner, Frankie Szynskie, and Aiden Brummel. Ken is also survived by seven joyous and loving great-grandchildren; Quinn, Charlie, Ava, Jude, and Becket Cassias and Theodore and Elliott Miles.
We have all been deprived of seeing our Dad, Granddad and Great-Granddad these last 10-months due to the social distancing put forth by the virus. This is a great human tragedy, which is both his and our greatest loss and one that can’t be given back.
We would especially like to thank the nurses, caregivers, and staff at Lakeview Village who have so lovingly and graciously taken care of Ken and Zita these past several years. Ken – and we - developed many friendships with you; we saw your devotion and compassion shine through despite all the challenges that Covid has placed on all of us. We thank you and, we know, Ken thanks you.
Due to COVID restrictions, there will be a Private Family Funeral Mass at 11:00 am on Thursday, January 28, 2021 at Cure of Ars Catholic Church. The service will be Live Streamed, and you may join the family for the service by clicking here: http://www.cureofars.com/funeral If you are unable to join the live service, a recording of the service may be viewed by clicking the link above.
In lieu of flowers the family request you honor Kenneth's memory by donating to:
Cure of Ars Catholic Church or Parkinson's Foundation
To send flowers to Kenneth E. Brummel's family, please visit our floral store.