Dec. 23, 1940 - Feb. 19, 2012
Kenneth D. Emerson, born in Edina, Mo., to Pearl and Julia Perry Emerson. He had four siblings. He graduated from University of Missouri with degrees in business and agriculture. He then worked for Allis Chalmers out of Milwaukee, Wis., traveling around the states giving seminars on new equipment.
Ken met his wife, Karen, on a ski trip there. They later married in Las Vegas, where he moved for a dealership job and Karen followed. They then moved to Orange, Calif., where he again worked for Allis Chalmers Industrial Equipment and traveled three states. Their son, Andrew, was born there. They all loved the beaches and fishing on a cousin's boat.
Ken then had a chance to move to the Northwest and get back into Allis Chalmers. He was chosen top district manager four years in a row. They picked Walla Walla to live, as it was near skiing and the Snake River for camping. Sarah and Rachael were born here and all went to school here, then on to college. Ken was active in Central Christian Church as a board member, deacon, elder and many other positions. He sang in church choir and other services. He also sang with the Walla Walla Symphony Choral.
Ken found out he had polycystic kidney disease and his kidneys failed in 1989. He received a transplant from his sister, Evelyn Burns, at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle. Ken then quit work and became "Mr. Mom" as his health never returned to normal. Ken was diagnosed with sinus cancer in 2008 and had chemo/radiation in Seattle. It then reoccurred and he had further treatment, again in Seattle. He had his last surgery July 2011 at VMMC. He then decided to stop his immunosuppressants to see if he could survive this cancer, which had again reoccurred in September 2011. Kidney function became better without the meds, so his brother John and sister Evelyn visited him in October 2011, while he was still alert and mobile.
Ken then gave Mayo Hospital in Phoenix a try, to see if they could do radical oral surgery for the cancer. That was not to be. In February 2012 he chose to stop his food and meds and enter Hospice of the Valley's facility in Surprise, Ariz. Ken died there Feb. 19, 2012, surrounded by his wife; children; sister-in-law and brother-in-law; and his beloved dog, Daisy. He was preceded in death by his sister, Eva Ruth; brother Jim and sister-in-law, Carmen; and 2-year-old sister, Bernice. He is survived by his wife, Karen, at home; son, Andy (Kelly) Tacoma; daughters, Sarah, New York, and Rachael Morgan (Kevin), Albuquerque, N.M.; and three grandchildren, Audry and William, Tacoma, and Emerson, Albuquerque.
Memorial service will be held at Central Christian Church on May 12 at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, please donate to charity of choice.