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Obituary: Kenneth J. Christopher, Seymour

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Kenneth J. Christopher, 91, of Seymour, Indiana, passed away on February 4, 2013, at the Lutheran Community Home. Born on April 28, 1921, in Dudleytown, Indiana, Ken was the only son of Fred H. and Lena (Melloncamp) Christopher. Ken married Lillie M. Arnholt on June 20, 1948, at St. Paul (Clifty) Lutheran Church in Columbus, Indiana. She survives.

Ken (also known as Chris) graduated from Indiana University in June 1948 with a B.S. degree in Business Administration. He worked at Cummins Engine Company for 28 years. After taking early retirement, he realized his dream of owning his own business — Christopher’s Country Store in Dudleytown, Indiana. He often referred to that time as “the most enjoyable ten-year period of my life.” After meeting all of his goals for his business, Ken went on to selling real estate for five years with Pollert’s Inc.

As a little boy growing up in Dudleytown, Indiana, he loved spending time in his father’s grocery store doing little jobs such as crating eggs brought in by local farmers and rinsing out cuspidors. Later he enjoyed earning money by trapping and selling wild rabbits and fur-bearing animals. Music was a huge part of his life in high school where he played violin in the orchestra and ensemble and sang bass in the school choir and male glee club.

A member of what Tom Brokaw called the “Greatest Generation,” he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942 as a battalion and regimental Yeoman at Great Lakes Naval Training Center. He was accepted into the Navy V-12 Program and the Midshipman Training Program which led to a commission of Ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He served as Supply Corps Officer aboard the U.S.S. Lamar in the Pacific Theater. He was proud to have served his country.

Ken was very active in his community and church. He was involved with Boy Scouts for six years, serving as Assistant Scout Master, District Vice Chairman, and as a Member-at-Large on Hoosier Hills Council. He was presented the “Scouter’s Award” and the “Silver Beaver Award for Distinguished Service to Boyhood.” Ken was a lifelong member of the Lutheran Church, serving as Chairman, Elder, Treasurer, and Sunday School Teacher, and singing in the church choirs. He also served on the Lutheran Community Home Board of Directors.

For the past twenty-plus years, Ken made wooden games and puzzles which he sold at craft shows. A fixture at Seymour’s Oktoberfest, his booth was a favorite of children and adults alike. Music continued to be an important part of his life. He played fiddle for the country bands “Laddermen” and “Sounds of Yesterday,” brightening the days of residents at nursing homes and retirement centers. A faithful booster of IU basketball, he enjoyed helping Bob Knight and his successors “coach” the team from his living room chair.

Gregarious, involved, and interested in many things — Ken lived life to the fullest.

Survivors include his beloved wife, Lillie M. Christopher of Seymour, Indiana; his son, Fred (Debbie) Christopher of Muncie, Indiana; three daughters, Carla (Richard) Sekula of Indianapolis, Indiana, Linda (Colin) Scheidt of Columbus, Indiana, and Gina (Mark) Zimmerer of Sandy, Utah; grandchildren, Kaus (Raquel) Christopher, Karryn (Adam Fike) Christopher, Matthew (Dana) Scheidt, Elizabeth Scheidt, Katherine Scheidt, Ryan (Sarah) Sekula, and David (Jade) Sekula; and great-grandsons, Kiehl Christopher, Finley Christopher, Nathan Scheidt, and Peter Scheidt.

He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Lila Christopher.

Funeral service will be conducted Friday, February 8, at 11:00 a.m. at Emanuel Lutheran Church, Dudleytown, with Pastor Scott Kozisek officiating. Calling will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday evening, February 7 at Burkholder Funeral Chapel in Seymour and one hour before the service at Emanuel Lutheran Church. Burial will be at Emanuel Lutheran Church Cemetery with military graveside rites conducted by American Legion No. 89, V.F.W. Post No. 1925, D.A.V. No. 47 & Vietnam Veterans No. 7, all of Seymour.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Lutheran Community Home, Emanuel Lutheran Church Capital Improvement Fund, Trinity Lutheran High School, Schneck Medical Center Hospice, or to the donor’s choice of charities.

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