After thirteen years of winning battles, Ken Wilson, 70, lost the war on cancer on Friday, June 10.
Ken was born to Shirley and Kenneth “Bud” Wilson in Hastings, Nebraska. He was his parents’ first child, to be joined by brother James and sister Marcy. Ken grew up in Thornton. He graduated from Mapleton High School, and earned a degree in forestry from Colorado State University. It was at CSU that Ken solidified his lifelong love for cycling and joined the bicycling club.
A love for skiing and the outdoors brought Ken to Glenwood Springs in the late ’60s, where he worked for Sunlight as a ski technician. The job was a vehicle to ski free, and it was there that he forged many lifelong friendships. He turned a summer job of surveying into a professional land surveying career in the Roaring Fork Valley. He worked at Eldorado Engineering for several years before he partnered with Rich Holsan and Rick Kinchella to start Ponderosa Engineering and Surveying. Ken developed Schmueser Gordon Meyer’s survey department in 1986, where he worked for the rest of his professional career. He was a deeply respected businessman known for his unparalleled integrity and honesty. He cultivated his love for the land in his sons, who walk in his footsteps as surveyors themselves.
Ken married Barbara Embry in the late ’60s; they had two children, Cole and Alicia. He gained two more children, Joshua and Noelle, when he married the love of his life, Lisa, in 1983.
Ken had many interests and talents. He was best known for riding a bike before it was cool, and was a charter member of the “Down Valley Trash” cycling team in the ’80s.
He was a well-recognized figure in the valley in his array of colorful bike jerseys. Each July, Ken was devoted to watching the Tour de France. After years of getting only 5 minutes of airtime on the late news, Ken was ecstatic when technology caught up with him and began covering the race (and others) in full. One highlight of his life was when he traveled with Lisa to London to see the race in person.
At 18, Ken was a national champion archer, and maintained a deep love for archery, passing on that passion to his sons. He was a deadeye at target shooting, but also a talented watercolor, pencil and woodworking artist. He could build and fix anything, though plumbing brought out his one and only bad personality trait.
After the kids were out of the house, Ken and Lisa began many joyful years of traveling and cycling locally and in 13 countries. His favorite trips involved cycling on the beaches of Normandy, and hiking the highlands of Scotland.
Ken is survived by Lisa and his children, Cole Wilson, Alicia (Patrick) Smith, Joshua (Aften) Wilson, and Noelle (Donnie) Marcellus; four grandchildren, Zachary, Emma, Parker and Harlow; brother, Jim; sister Marcy; sister-in-law, Nikki Stephens; brother-in-law, Jeff Krebill; and his nieces and nephews.
A joyful memorial and barbeque is scheduled for Sunday, June 26, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., at Veltus Park. Bring great Ken stories to share, and consider cycling to the event and/or wearing colorful bike gear.
Valley View Hospital and Hospice of the Valley were instrumental in Ken’s care. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to one or both of them in Ken’s name.
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