Kenneth Dean Mathews, 79, was born April 15, 1937, in Pocatello, Idaho. He passed away Saturday, July 2, 2016, in Pocatello peacefully while recovering from an injury sustained from other health complications.
Ken grew up on a small family farm next to the Portneuf River in the Blackrock area between Inkom and Pocatello. It was here that Dad learned the meaning of hard work; a lesson he carried with him throughout his life. As a young man, Ken was a Deacon in the Mormon Church, but his life journey as a Christian would take him in another direction. Dad would often say that he wasn’t a churchgoer, but you otherwise wouldn’t know it. He cared deeply for other people, especially his extended family, coworkers, tax service customers, as well as his friends and bowling buddies. He was a frugal man due to his upbringing, but throughout his life he was often generous with his time and money.
Ken attended grammar school in Inkom, and he attended Pocatello High School and graduated in 1956. He enlisted in the Army, serving for two years during peacetime in California and Hawaii, followed by six years in the Idaho National Guard. While in the Army, he saved his money and bought new furniture for his mother to put in the new house his father had recently built in Blackrock. Ken met the love of his life, Rose Etta Babbitt, and he later married her on February 16, 1963 at the Central Christian Church in Pocatello. They settled in American Falls, Idaho, after the birth of their first son in 1966.
Ken was one of the original employees at Lamb-Weston in American Falls. He was employee number 3. Ken was seriously injured in an accidental 30-foot fall in 1980, and he wasn’t expected to survive. He did survive his injuries and after a yearlong recovery went back to work at Lamb-Weston to make sure his family was taken care of. He retired in 1999 after 38 years with the company.
Ken had a passion for helping people with their income tax preparation. He did this for many years and had many loyal customers in and around AF. Another of Ken’s passions was his volunteer work with Foresters (IOF), having spent many years as an officer of Court Teton. He also loved to travel. Both before and during retirement, Ken and Rose went on several cruises and trips to Hawaii, but he most enjoyed RVing. They spent their winters in Pahrump, NV, for many years until Mom’s health made long trips too difficult.
Ken and Rose settled in American Falls and raised their family of three boys: Bert, Kevin, and Jerry. Ken loved the Idaho outdoors. He introduced his boys to camping, hunting, and fishing at an early age. During their summer layoffs from work and school, the family would travel all over Idaho to camp and fish. During the fall, he and the boys had many successful hunts all over Southeast Idaho. The boys all share his love of the outdoors to this day, and he will be sorely missed. May God bless Dad’s soul with unlimited outdoor opportunities in Heaven.
Ken is survived by his wife of 53 years, Rose Etta, of Chubbuck; three sons – Bert (and Deanna) of Moscow, ID, Kevin (and Jessyca) and Jerry (and Cindy), both of Pocatello; eight grandkids – Timothy, Devin, Jesse, Alex, Rebecca, Brocton, Ashton, and Joey, as well as three step grandkids – Justin, Dillon, and Abbi, and three great grandkids; two brothers – Lloyd (and Brenda) of Pocatello, and Keith of Kemmerer, WY; and one sister – Janet Gudger of Yakima, WA; as well as several nephews and nieces, and so on. Ken was preceded in death by his parents – Howard and Helen, two brothers – Howard “Sonny” Jr., and David; and a sister – Diana Payne-Hill.
The funeral service will be Friday, July 8th, at 11 AM, at Cornelison Funeral Home in Pocatello. The doors will open at 10 AM. A viewing will be held Thursday evening from 6-8 PM. Ken will be buried at Restlawn Memorial Gardens with his father, mother, and siblings, with military rites. May he rest in peace.