Beloved and devoted husband, father, and grandfather, Kenneth "Ken" Evan Weber passed away on February 24, 2022, at the age of 69. Though he never felt particularly lucky in life, his unexpected passing was gratefully quick and seemingly painless, falling on a date that shared a number with his all-time favorite baseball player, Willie Mays.
Ken was born to Karl and Elizabeth "Bee Jay" Weber on January 10, 1953, in the San Francisco Bay Area. The youngest of three children, he enjoyed a special place in their hearts as their only son. Paramount in his upbringing was the importance of doing quality work (or “the privilege of doing it again”) and the satisfaction of a job well done. His father’s passing when he was a teenager had a profound impact on his life, but he remained thankful for the gifts his father shared including a variety of outdoor interests, such as hunting, camping, barbecuing, baseball, and most especially fishing. His mother’s influence ensured Ken was as capable at the stove as he was with a needle and thread. She also instilled an appreciation for proper grammar and cleanliness. Never a fan of anything sticky, Ken was impeccably neat – even eating wings with a knife and a fork.
Ken’s Catholic faith was very important to him, strengthened through 12 years of parochial schooling. He continued his education at Colorado State University in pursuit of a forestry degree. Two years in, however, he found himself certain of a one-way ticket to Vietnam after an unlucky draft number – “they always go after the fast and handsome ones” – and didn’t register for his junior year. When the draft ended just before he was called to service, he purchased Goto Landscaping and a career in the green industry was born, merging Ken’s appreciation for nature, the beauty of plants and flowers, and the art of shaping the environment to bring nature to our back door.
While his first marriage was short-lived, he was grateful for his precious daughter, Melissa, that came from that relationship.
He met his “best girl” and future wife, Teri, while in a single’s church bowling league. In Ken’s words, “…Teri was starting to generate the attention of fools.” Feeling she deserved better company, he drummed up the courage to ask her out. To his surprise, she agreed to a date. In December 2021, Ken and Teri celebrated 39 incredible years of marriage, which blessed them with two more beautiful daughters, Katie and Sarah, and five dear grandchildren.
Ken welcomed the opportunity to dispense fatherly (and grandfatherly) advice, including the all-important, “Get a job; save your money.” He encouraged academic excellence, whether rewarding “A”s or assisting with homework, particularly math. He enjoyed dad jokes, coaching his daughters and others in basketball, and sharing his love of the Oldies. Family gatherings were filled with his wit and laughter.
Ken owned and operated two subsequent businesses: Exterior Designs – a landscape design and installation service, and A Cut Above – a lawn mowing service. He was an incredibly hard worker, doing whatever it took throughout the years to provide for his family, from delivering papers and milk to working as a forecaddie in the off-season or to supplement full-time jobs. He completed his career as a Sales Manager for The Scott’s Company, where he was known as the “Road Warrior,” covering the entire state of Montana, the northern half of Idaho and some of eastern Washington. And, even in retirement, he worked as a part-time merchandiser for The Scott’s Company to keep the bank account flush.
He was meticulous in caring for his home and yard – creating a variety of patterns in the lawn for his family and passers-by to admire each week. Ken had a love-hate relationship (depending on their winning record) with his favorite sports teams – the San Francisco Giants, the Las Vegas Raiders, the Golden State Warriors, and the Gonzaga Bulldogs – never missing a televised game if possible because he was always "watching history in the making."
Ken was happiest catching and releasing trout on the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River and took as much enjoyment in his bride’s success on the water (having patiently mentored her) as he did in his own, which was considerable. He also enjoyed sharing his love of fishing and his spot-on aim with a baseball, as well as playing tag and inventing new games (including “seat-belt on” and “double-ball on the stairs”) with his grandchildren.
Ken was surprisingly creative and romantic, dreaming up clever gifts for his bride that were often accompanied by a poem of his crafting. Thankfully, they had recently completed their Alphabet Adventures (a Valentine’s gift of Ken’s creation) prior to his passing.
Over the years, Ken developed select and lasting friendships that were a mix of sarcasm, practical jokes, and empathy depending on the situation. Being hard of hearing from very early on in life, he often felt misunderstood and perhaps was a bit more reclusive than he would have liked to spare him the difficulties of interacting in most environments.
He had a particular affinity for the music of the 60s, especially The Beatles, and was a collector of many things including baseball caps, coins, all things fly fishing, and potential quips for his someday cartoon strip –
He was a masterful (albeit sometimes long-winded) storyteller and always quick with witty retorts. He enjoyed reclining on the couch (the “luge position”) and watching re-runs of any number of sitcoms, including That 70s Show where he would frequently quote memorable lines – “That burn is on tour” – and laugh as freely as if he was watching it for the first time.
He had a fondness for chocolate ice cream with chocolate sauce – and sprinkles if offered, Dr. Pepper (his wife has since uncovered 10 two-liter bottles on reserve in the garage), Three Musketeers bars, and McDonald’s sweet tea (he could make a $10 gift card last for months). A fan of golden retrievers (previous owner of three and grandfather to one), he rarely walked past a golden without a kind word or gentle pat.
Though Ken might not have had those noteworthy exploits that garner so much attention these days, he more than excelled in what may be hardest for a man…to be a romantic, faithful, and loving husband; a grounding, stable presence in the lives of his children and grandchildren; a hardworking, steady provider for the family he co-created through the ups and downs of the economies; and all the while maintaining his humor and seeing to his own spirituality and sense of self-identity.
He is survived by his loving wife, Teri; children Melissa (Cliff) Plenty, Katie Fortune, and Sarah (Michael) Benner; grandchildren Brandon, Clara, Alivia, Evan, and Sophie; sister Virginia Detweiler; Francine “Auntie Fran” Zimmerman (since passed); in-laws Julie Yeh Johnson, Robert (Nancy) Johnson, Gary (Darlene) Johnson, Julie (Dave) Cox and Ben Johnson; and several cousins, nieces and nephews, including cousins Mark and Joann Zimmerman and niece Devon Detweiler, who caught her first fish with Ken.
Often likening himself to the cynical Rat in the Pearls Before Swine comic, he is remembered as being authentically Ken. Those who had the privilege of really knowing him are extremely grateful for his sense of humor, sage advice, and comforting bear hugs. His contagious laughter, the way his eyes lit up when he smiled, and the frequent reminders of how proud he was of those he loved are deeply missed.