Kenneth E. Kudrna, 87, died Sunday, October 29th 2023, in his home with the comfort of his family.
Funeral services will be held 10am Thursday November 9th at the United Methodist Church in Hay Springs. Pastors Paul Smith (officiating) and Rod Heilbrun (guest pastor). Burial will be at the Beaver Valley Cemetery.
Memorials are suggested for the Hay Springs’ Future Farmers of America, and Chadron’s Hospice.
Donations may be sent to Chamberlain---
Chamberlain is in charge of arrangements.
Kenneth was born April 2nd 1936 at his family home in rural Hay Springs to Christine (Hoyda) and Frank Kudrna. He grew up in rural Dawes County and attended Antelope Valley Elementary School and later graduated from Hay Springs High School. During his school years, Kenny was involved in FFA along with other school activities. He “placed” with his cattle in FFA competitions, and his love for cattle begin to grow. He spent much of his younger years working on his family farm. He also did custom swathing and baling as a source of income.
Kenny married Selma Lundy on Wednesday September 17, 1958 and they shared their life together beginning with his service in the U.S Army. He was a SP4 E4 with the 68th Artillery with the Missile Defense System. He had worked with the Ajax and then the Nike Missiles. He was stationed on Air Force Bases in South Dakota and Minnesota.
Ken and Selma later purchased the Crawford Dotson Farm South West of Hay Springs and became active in land preservation practices with their farm/ranch. Together they built their home on the original foundation that was on the property.
In January 1963, they welcomed their first born child Julie into the world. Ken and Selma continued working on their home and finished it just in time to celebrate Julie’s first birthday. In March of 1966, their family grew again with the birth of their son Kevin. Kenny and Selma continued raising their family and taking care of their crops and cattle.
Kenny enjoyed being outside and staying active, he also loved to watch the sun rise and set every day. He was an avid reader and learner and enjoyed studying topics in depth. Kenny loved local history and sharing stories with his friends and family. As the years passed Kenny became something special, a “grandad.” Kenny spent a lot of quality time with Selma, his children and grandchildren planting trees. Together, they planted over 100,000 tress and Ken was awarded the NRD Tree planter of the year award in 2003 in which he was very proud. He had been the only non-government board member of the BESSEY tree nursery and was honored for being a good steward of the land.
Kenny is known for his adventures including becoming a pilot and traveling with Selma in their planes. He also had fun traveling with the Security Gold Club being able to see new sights and meet new people. The two enjoyed their travels and new experiences until Selma’s passing in August, 2011. Kenny’s adventures didn’t end there, years later he found a special friend Charlene, in which he shared many memories. Kenny enjoyed Charlene’s companionship throughout the remainder of his life and often told stories of their travels and experiences together.
Kenny enjoyed watching his grandchildren grow into adulthood and later becoming a great-grandpa. Throughout the years Kenny was always involved with his brother and sisters, he loved drinking coffee with them and sharing childhood stories. He would gently end each conversation with the words “Take care now.”
Kenny was a one-of-a-kind man who always made sure his family was taken care of and his cattle were fed. He never spoke poorly of others and would settle any disagreement with a simple eye-roll. His contagious laugh and smile will truly be missed, along with all his innocent pranks.
Kenneth survived by his children Julie (Ken) Eckland of Scottsbluff, and Kevin Kudrna of Hay Springs. His siblings, Joanne Middleton, of Park City MT., Delbert (Betty) Kudrna of Hay Springs, and Doris (Jim) Larsen of Park City MT. Grandchildren Chris (Nichole) Drake, Trisha Kudrna, Kelsey (Mike) Opitz, Augusta (Skylar) Gartamaker, Justin (Heidi) Eckland, and Travis Eckland. Great-grandchildren Jackson, Brantley, Parker, Blaine, Ezra, and Hadley.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, and his older sister.