Thursday, January 8, 2009


Minneapolis, Minnesota

Monticello Times, Monticello MN
Thursday, January 8, 2009

Kenneth J. "Kenny" Vetsch, 84, Monticello

Kenneth J. "Kenny" Vetsch, 84, Monticello, died Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008, at his residence.

A Mass of Christian Burial was 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009, at The Church of St. Henry in Monticello. Father Timothy C. Rudolphi was the Celebrant. Visitation was Friday, Jan. 2, 4-8 p.m., at The Peterson Chapel St. Michael-Albertville Funeral Home. A Prayer Service was held at 7 p.m.

Kenny was born Nov. 8, 1924, in Buffalo Township, Wright County, the son of William and Antonia Wey Vetsch. He honorably served his country in the U.S. Army.

He married Millicent I. Peterson July 24, 1971, at St. Timothy Lutheran Church in Columbia Heights.

Kenny worked in dairy farming in Monticello Township for many years. He later became a construction laborer and belonged to The Construction & General Laborers Local # 536.

He was a faithful member of The Church of St. Henry in Monticello. He was also a longtime active member of The American Legion, V.F.W., Catholic Order of Foresters and Knights of Columbus.

Kenny loved the outdoors, especially working at Beebe Lake Park for 17 years and having a large garden.

He is survived by his wife; children, Gary Peterson (James Davies), Debra (Jeff) Lewis, Patti (Patrick) McCann, Tim Peterson and Sandy Peterson; 11 grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; brothers and sisters, Orville (Marlene) Vetsch, Willard "Willie" Vetsch, Anna Mae (Gilbert) Valerius, Earl (Joan) Vetsch, Fred (Alice) Vetsch, Nona (Lyle) Lindenfelser, and Dianne (Duane) Kemmetmueller.

He was preceded in death by his parents; four brothers, Ralph, Lloyd, Joseph and Donald Vetsch; a granddaughter, Bernadette Lewis, and by first wife, Kathleen.

Casket Bearers were Kevin McCann, Aaron McCann, Kelly McCann, Ryan McCann, Peter Lewis and Brian Vetsch.

Kenneth Vetsch Eulogy, St. Henry’s Catholic Church, Monticello MN
by Tim Peterson - January 3, 2009

Good morning. Happy new year everyone. This would certainly be Kenny’s wish for each of us on this fine day of remembrance and celebration.

How does one even begin to summarize the essential character of someone as beloved and dear as my step father Kenny?

The author Dr. Stephen Covey wrote that in order to truly become fulfilled, each of us seeks to live, to love, to learn, and to leave a legacy. I would add my own personal fifth
item: to laugh often. Kenny’s life had the gift of many years to master fulfillment in each of these areas.

As I stand before you today, I am struck by the greatest of ironies among my many reflections over this past week. When Kenny married my mother back on July 24, 1971, I was but a scared, awkward, pimple faced, 12 year old kid. Beginning way back then, I literally ached to emulate and to always be as much like him as I possibly could. This was apparent in everything from wearing my Jacques seed corn cap, my leather work gloves, my blue jeans, and my red wing brand work boots that we acquired from a big trip down to Minneapolis. I must confess to you all that here I am now today, almost 38 years later
, and I still ache as ever to be as much like him as I can!

Although certainly more numerous, there are at least six reasons why:

1. Kenny had a Quiet Kindness to him. He was authentic, non-superficial, the REAL deal. Kenny was not a talker. He let his actions speak more loudly than his words, as was shared so eloquently last night in comments from both my brother, Gary, and my brother-in-law, Patrick McCann.

2. Patience. Kenny showed this in spades throughout his years, but perhaps no more directly than after the April 26, 1973, construction accident when, at roughly the same age of 49 that I am at today, he fell three stories off of an apartment building that he was working on. He landed upon his seat on the hood of the cement truck below and his hard hat also came off from the fall. Moments later, he was struck in the head by the wheel barrow full of concrete which followed him in the fall. Kenny was nearly killed from this mishap and he suffered through great pain during his recovery and was challenged by great disability and hearing loss throughout the remaining years of his life from that point forward. I cannot even imagine how difficult that must have been to endure such an ordeal.

3. Dutiful. Kenny was the guy who always showed up with his legendary work ethic. He pulled his weight, or in his own words, he "cut the mustard." He always did his job and he did it well.

4. Adaptable Kenny was often resourceful in overcoming adversity and embracing change. I will be forever amazed by how well both he and my mother made the proactive decision 12 years ago to move off of the farm and into town as they proceeded in age into their early 70s.

5. Kenny could be tremendously Humorous. He liked to pull the occasional prank in order to tease my mother. He would help to lighten her up and keep things easy going. Many of you may not know this, but Kenny spoke German, learned long ago from his early farm family upbringing, and this would happen often when he would get together with his many siblings. We kids would be utterly fascinated by this and would beg them to say something in German. "Spechen se Deutsch, spechen se Deutsch," we would plead.

Kenny would then glance at his conspiring brothers with a twinkle in each of their eyes and state something like the following (hopefully, those of you who are fluent will forgive my attempt to pronounce correctly here): "Ah-Bay-Say, Kat-Schlecken-Sneigh. Sneigh-Dey-Vet, Kat-Schlecken-Det!" Fully believing that we had just heard something very deep and profound we would then plead with Kenny to translate what we had just heard. "Say it in English, say it in English," we would beg. Kenny and his brothers would by then be laughing so very hard as they let us all into their little linguistic joke by stating the following: "A-B-C, the cat sleeps in the snow. The snow then melts, the cat sleeps in the dirt!" I guess you just had to be there in order to most fully appreciate how humorous and priceless of a memory this is!

6. Finally, Kenny was very Spiritual. He would never let on himself outwardly about such a thing, but his very persona once again spoke volumes through his love of husbandry and all agrarian activities. His actions were almost always in sync with the seasons. Kenny seemed to get the "inside stuff" right. I did not realize it then, but looking back, it is very apparent that his ongoing, quiet example of living opened many doors to the unfolding of my own spirituality which has continued over the years since he came into our lives.

To conclude my comments, I wish to share some timeless wisdom from my friend, Joe Henry, who lives as a rancher on the western slope of the Continental Divide along the roaring Fork River Valley in southwest Colorado. My friend Joe is an elder of native American, Cheyenne tribal ancestry. His words provide a significant measure of calm and comfort ... so appropriate as we all remember and honor Kenny this day:

I know that love is seeing ALL the infinite in one.

In the brotherhood of creatures; Who the father? Who the son?

The vision of your goodness will sustain me through the cold.

Take my hand now to remember, when you find yourself alone.

You are NEVER alone!

For the spirit fills the darkness of the heavens.

It fills the endless yearning of the soul.

It lives within a star too far to dream of.

It lives within each part, and is the whole.

It is the Fire and the Wings that fly us home.

Fly us home … fly us home.

Ah-ho, Ishinyuwanta … you are the blessed servant Kenny, filled with joy and peace.

Ah-ho, Ishinyuwanta … we are all the blessed ones this day, filled with joy and peace.

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