Ken was born March 6, 1950 in Carmi, Illinois. He was the youngest of four children born to Gerald “Depo” Gerdes and Mary (Collins) Gerdes.
On September 19, 1982, Ken was united in marriage to Carol (Jackson) Gerdes in Carmi, Illinois. She survives.
Ken is also survived by: his daughter – Megan Michelle Gerdes of Canton, Georgia; 2 brothers – William (Lynn) Gerdes of Birmingham, Alabama and James (Marie) Gerdes of Richmond, Virginia; a sister – Carol Faulkner of Carmi, Illinois; a sister-in-law – Pamela Gerdes of Birmingham, Alabama; his beloved pet “Billy Bob” as well as a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives, and many friends.
Ken was preceded in death by his parents.
Ken was a 1968 graduate of Carmi High School. He earned a Bachelors Degree in Forestry from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Following his graduation from SIU, Ken worked as a manager of a condominium in Aspen, Colorado. He also worked in the construction trade. Ken and Carol moved to Johnson County in 1983. He was employed by the U.S.D.A. as the Johnson County Executive Director of Farm Services, a position which he held for 31 years prior to his retirement. Following his retirement from the U.S.D.A., Ken worked as a crop insurance adjuster for A.D.M. (Archer Daniels Midland) for 3 years.
Ken was of the Protestant faith. He had a deep love for his family and cherished time spent with them. Ken was an avid outdoorsman. He loved hiking, fishing, deer hunting, snow skiing, and camping. Additionally, Ken was a gifted artisan and enjoyed painting and making craft items. He enjoyed playing his guitar and particularly enjoyed listening to bluegrass and folk music.
A tribute to the life of Kenneth W. Gerdes will be held at a later date which will be announced.
Memorials may be made to establish a scholarship at Vienna High School which will be given to an FFA student or an art student. Memorials may be sent in care of Bailey Funeral Home, P.O. Box 695, Vienna, IL 62995. The Gerdes family feels strongly that Ken would want to “give back” to the community which has been their home for 37 years.