Kenneth Maddux

Kenneth Eugene Maddux, age 100, of Irondale Twp., Minn., died on Jan. 9 at the Cuyuna Regional Care Center in Crosby, Minn.

He was born on Dec. 29, 1920, in Mora, Minn., to Fred Eugene and Alice Amelia (Nystrom) Maddux. 

A World War II Army Air Force veteran, he was stationed on the island of Saipan in the Pacific as an aircraft sheet metal mechanic, where he repaired B-29s.

He did his basic training at Sheppard Field in Wichita Falls, Texas, and gunnery school in Laredo, Texas. Additional technical training was coursework in sheet metal mechanics at Redondo Beach H.S., Redondo Beach, Calif., and Bell Aircraft in Marrieta, Ga.

Following the war, he attended Coyne Electrical School in Chicago, training to become an electrician, and on Aug. 12, 1947, he married Julia Jelencich in Crosby.

After his marriage, he wired farms in South Dakota for REA.  He and Julia lived briefly in Crosby before settling in St. Paul, around 1949, and eventually in Newport, Minn., in 1955, where they raised their family before moving to Cuyuna in 1967.

While in the Twin Cities, he worked as an airplane sheet metal mechanic at Northwest Airlines.

Following the family’s move in 1967, he owned and operated the Bungalow Supper Club in Emily in 1967-68. In 1967, he also worked in general maintenance at Scorpion in Crosby until it ceased operations. He then went to work in plant operations at the hospital in Crosby (now CRMC) until his retirement in 1990.

He built a home with Julia on Carlson Road in Irondale Twp. in 1976. After Julia’s passing in August 1988, Ken’s son, Greg, came to live with him, remaining by his side until Ken’s last days at the Cuyuna Regional Care Center.

His childhood was spent in Iowa, where he attended country school and graduated in 1939 from Bayard High School. There he was scouted as a pitcher by the St. Louis Cardinals during his senior year. Later he took up fast-pitch softball during the war and pitched until the age of 50.

He enjoyed sports, dancing and playing cards. He loved to fish, making several trips to Ontario for walleye and northern; doing Sudoku puzzles; and watching birds at his homemade feeders just outside the kitchen window. 

He also enjoyed storytelling and telling jokes. He put on fish frys; baked pies; and made rag rugs on his loom in the basement. He loved working with his chainsaw and handling firewood — from cutting, chunking, splitting, stacking and, finally, to burning it in the basement stove where he spent many hours in his refuge.

Active in retirement, he was involved in several volunteering stints: at the Brainerd State Hospital, repairing wheelchairs; on hurricane cleanup crews for Hurricane Hugo (Charlotte, N.C.) and Hurricane Andrew (Homestead, Fla.); and at the Care Center in Crosby, were he volunteered for 30 years.

He was a member of the Emily United Methodist Church; the Myrin-James American Legion Post 443 of Ironton; and a former member of the Cuyuna Fire Department.

Preceding Ken in death are his parents; Julia, his wife of 41 years; and two sisters, Margaret Jordan and Elaine Gordon.

He is survived by three sons and their partners: Ken Jr. (Diane Wells), of Eagen, Minn.; Greg, of Irondale Twp.; and Tim (Barb Zbacnik) of LaJolla, Calif.; four grandchildren and spouses: Nate (Megan); Nick; Alicia (Andrew) Hamilton; and Amy; two great-grandchildren, Phoebe and Phaeren; cousins Bob Lindroth and Alden Jennison; a brother-in-law, David Brown Sr.; two sisters-in-law, Hazel Magdich and Marsha Jelencich; many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews and great-great-nieces and nephews.

A family service will be held at 1 p.m. Jan. 16 at the Cascade United Methodist Church in Deerwood. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church. If desired, friends may tune into the service in the church parking lot on radio 88.1.

Friends are welcome to attend the burial at 2 p.m. following the service at Lakewood Cemetery in Crosby.

Full military honors will be presented by the Myrin-James American Legion Post 443 of Ironton.

Arrangements are with the Koop Funeral Home in Crosby.

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