Kenneth Joseph Wasinger, a Topeka, KS., resident, died peacefully of a cardiac arrest on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020.
Ken’s story began on Nov. 5, 1947, in Garden City, KS, the son of Sylvenus and Marietta Wasinger. He graduated from Garden City High School in 1965 and has remained lifelong friends with many of his classmates. After attending Kansas State University, he moved to Topeka, KS, where he co-owned and operated a restaurant and bar.
In 1971, he married Catherine Lindner, his high school sweetheart. Their son, Joseph Murphy Wasinger, was born in 1988. Their family bond was inspiring. Immediate and extended family gatherings, holidays and weddings helped form the foundation for their deep relationship.
Beginning in 1984, he went to work for White Star Machinery and Supply, Topeka, KS, a division of Berry Companies, in a sales position utilizing his natural gift for selling. A few years later he accepted a sales position at Berry Tractor and Equipment Company where his career progressed to Branch Manager of the Topeka office. He subsequently became the General Manager of Berry Tractor and Equipment Company, reporting to one of the owners. Ken was known for being compassionate, even under difficult circumstances, and never lost his contagious sense of humor. He retired in 2014 after 30 years with Berry Companies.
After retirement he was a member of the “Table of Knowledge” coffee group, where he helped solve many of the world’s problems at the local Panera Bread every morning. His dogs looked forward to him returning home each day for daily naps. Ken’s lifetime passions included reading, cooking and playing golf. He was an avid sports fan cheering on the Kansas State Wildcats, Kansas City Royals and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Being clever and quick witted and having no regard for the consequences gave Ken an edge when planning his famous practical jokes. Just the mention of his name to any of his friends and all of his family elicits a smile and the need to relate a personal interaction that they observed or of which they were a part. Ken was born with an active, creative energy that manifested itself in practical jokes which brought laughter and happiness to even the victims of the prank. Nieces and nephews were on constant guard and alert for practical jokes from Uncle Kenny - especially at big family functions like holidays and weddings. It was this prankster bent that endeared him to all who knew him and elevated him to legendary status among his friends and family. These pranks were his way of embracing those he loved (everyone secretly wanted to be a part of his mirthful plots) and the feelings were reciprocal. All the children in his extended family truly loved Uncle Kenny because he teased them constantly. Everyone always awaited Ken’s arrival at any family gathering, wondering what new story was going to be created and added to the giant journal of “remember when Ken did this?”
His family and friends will miss him, his witty comments, twisted sense of humor and his wild practical jokes which knew no limits. Ken’s stories will be told and retold, laughed about, and will now be the source of the occasional tear at the memory of a man who was an essential part of a family fabric, now gone from this earth but will never be forgotten.
Kenneth is survived by his wife, Catherine Lindner Wasinger; his son, Joseph Wasinger; a brother, Max (Anita) Wasinger; and two sisters, Susan (Skip) Reed and Barbara (Kevin) Jeffries. He was preceded in death by his parents; two siblings, Jackie Wasinger and Donna Head Crouch; his mother-in-law, Nel Lindner Richmond; and father-in-law, Robert Richmond; and his brother-in-law, Peter Lindner.
His memory lives on in his 15 nieces and nephews and 20 great nieces and nephews who will ensure the stories of his many practical jokes will be passed down for generations to come.
A celebration of Ken’s life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Wanamaker Davita Dialysis, 3711 SW Wanamaker Road, Topeka, KS 66610, where funds will be used for the local Davita Patient Emergency Fund, or the American Heart Association, 6800 West 93rd Street, Overland Park, KS, 66212.
Posted online on December 29, 2020