Kenneth "Ken" E. Williams

Born in Lima, OH on January 19, 1945

Departed on November 11, 2019 and resided in Gallatin, TN

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Kenneth (Ken) E. Williams passed away peacefully at the Gallatin Center for Rehabilitation and Healing on November 11, 2019.

Ken was born January 19, 1945, to Lenora (Snavely) and Virgil Williams. The third of four children, he grew up in Lima, Ohio. Valedictorian of his high school class, Ken played the French horn and trumpet and was selected for the All-Ohio Boys’ Marching Band. Ken graduated magna cum laude with a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Cincinnati. He was honored with memberships in Tau Beta Pi and Pi Tau Sigma engineering honor societies.

On a Saturday night during his final semester at the University of Cincinnati in 1968, Ken was seeking a Bridge partner. He knew that by changing a few digits he could telephone different floors at the (then all-women’s) Mount Saint Joseph University. He finally reached freshman Hannah Dennewitz, who, having broken curfew the night before, was in on a Saturday night playing Honeymoon Bridge and watching Lawrence Welk with Sister Virginia Barry. Hannah told him she couldn’t play Bridge that night, but would be happy to play the next afternoon. So, much to the chagrin of Sister Virginia Barry and despite hearing from older students that Ken drank Jim Beam, Hannah went on a Sunday afternoon date with him. Hannah and Ken were married June 19, 1971, in Chillicothe, Ohio.

Ken worked for Chrysler and Hannah taught middle school, while they made their home in Indianapolis. Ken also earned his MBA from Wayne State University and his Juris Doctorate (law) degree from Indiana University during this time. Ken went through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) to become a Catholic shortly after his daughter Bridget was born in 1976. He enjoyed serving as a lector, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, as well as an active member of the Knights of Columbus.

They moved to East Aurora, N.Y., in 1981 when Ken took a position with Fisher Price Toys, then a division of Quaker Oats. Their second daughter, Katie Ann, was born in 1981. They relocated to Greenwood, Ind., in 1986 when Ken was transferred to the Gatorade/Van Camp divisions of Quaker Oats. His daughters want it to be known that they always preferred toys to beanie weenies.

Following many years in industry and leading manufacturing plants, Ken began working as Vice President of Operations at the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, Ind., in 2003. He loved the campus community and Sisters; he supported all campus activities, especially football. He oversaw many building projects and capital improvements during his tenure at USF and retired in March 2011.

In addition to his professional leadership, Ken served on the boards of the American Lung Association, Indianapolis 500 Festival, Theatre of Youth, Gleaners Food Bank, St. Barnabas Men’s Club, Center Grove Choir Parents Organization, United Way of Johnson County, and as a co-chair of the United Catholic Appeal for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. He served as a founding member and on the Parish Council at Saints Francis & Clare Catholic Church in Greenwood, Ind.

Ken and Hannah moved to Gallatin, Tenn. in 2014 to be closer to their grandsons, daughters, and son-in-law. They enjoyed getting involved with their parish, Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church; Ken was also active in the Knights of Columbus and recently was honored with the fourth degree rank. He was a block captain for the Kennesaw Farms Homeowners Association and took the mowing reports very seriously.

He had some significant health issues in recent years including sepsis, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, several falls resulting in two broken hips, a heart attack, and end-stage renal failure. When discussing limited treatment options, he said, “The good news is that I can play golf everyday in Heaven. The bad news is that my tee time could be tomorrow.” He loved playing Bridge throughout his life and continued playing when he moved to the Hearth at Hendersonville in April 2019. He would frequently “educate” his partner on the rules. His daughters even had to find a particular out-of-print book about Bridge for him to have on hand for lively discussions about the rules.

A jovial and optimistic person, Ken always sought the good in people. Known for his “Papaw jokes,” he always made people smile. A favorite saying of his was, “The reason I called this meeting...” in an elevator or room. When talking with his grandsons about his decision to enter hospice care, he reminded them of his favorite quote from Charles Swindoll, “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”

Ken loved being a dance, show choir, and cheerleading dad. He especially loved being a baseball, swimming, basketball, band, chorus, and soccer Papaw to his three grandsons. His daughters and their friends will remember him with a VHS camcorder and camera at many events. In addition to supporting his family’s activities, he loved cheering for the Indianapolis Colts and Ohio State Buckeyes, watching the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400, and color-coding the TV channel guide with a highlighter.

Ken is survived by his wife Hannah Dennewitz Williams and daughters Bridget Williams Golden (Thom) of Hendersonville, Tenn. and Katie Ann Williams of Gallatin, Tenn. Also surviving are special grandsons Andrew, James, and Patrick Golden, his sister Mary Jean Williams Whitney of Highland Ranch, Colo., and his brother Thomas V. (Mary Corker) Williams of Columbus, Ohio, as well as many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews. His parents and sister Ruth Anne Williams Channell preceded him in death.

Hannah, Bridget, and Katie Ann would like to thank Dr. J. Mathews Joseph, Dr. Benjamin Womack, caregiver Karl Bohnert, along with Deiona Ellis, Robin Patterson, Santos Tunguia, Kimberly Straub, Sarah Nwokoji and other nurses at the Hearth, Gallatin Rehabilitation, and HighPoint Hospice for their kindness and care.

Visitation will be at Hendersonville Memory Gardens and Funeral Home on Sunday, November 17, 2019, from 4:00 P.M. until 7:00 P.M. with a Rosary at 6:30 P.M. Visitation will be at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church at 10:00 AM on Monday, November 18, 2019 with a Funeral Mass following at 11:00 A.M. with Father Eric Fowlkes officiating. Visitation will be at Daniel F. O’Riley Funeral Home in Indianapolis, Ind., on Sunday, December 1, 2019 from 4:00 P.M. until 7:00 P.M. with a Rosary at 7:00 P.M. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at Saints Francis & Clare Catholic Church in Greenwood, Ind., on Monday, December 2, 2019 at 11:00 A.M. with Father Stephen Gianni officiating. Interment will immediately follow in the Resurrection Garden Columbarium at Saints Francis & Clare.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Veranda Ministries or Knights of Columbus, MSGR. William Bevington Council #9132. The Veranda is a wonderful day program for seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s, which Ken loved attending on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Gifts can be made online or by mailing a check to Veranda Ministries, 650 Nashville Pike, Suite 7A, Gallatin, TN 37066. For the Knights of Columbus, checks can be mailed to Knights of Columbus, Council 9132, Attention: Financial Secretary, PO Box 206, Hendersonville, TN 37077.

23 Comments to Kenneth "Ken" E. Williams

  1. Janet Patterson
    November 13, 2019 2:33 pm

    One of my happiest memories of Ken was when we worked together at USF. He always made a point of calling people on their birthdays to sing Happy Birthday. He would even make sure to call the day before if he had meetings all day on your birthday!
    I am so sorry to hear that he has passed away. It sounds like he faced death as he faced life…with a gentle spirit, a great faith and a strong sense of humor.
    Every time I go to the Hutzell Athletic Center at the University of Saint Francis, I will see Ken sitting in the stands cheering for the basketball teams.
    Rest in peace friend. Know that we are holding your family close in prayer.
    Jan and Tom Patterson

    • Hannah
      November 13, 2019 4:16 pm

      Thank you so very much for remembering Ken. He truly loved everything about USF. How we are going to miss him’😢😢

  2. Criss (Weisenberger) Miles
    November 13, 2019 6:15 pm

    Hannah, I’m so very sorry for your loss. You and Ken have such a beautiful family. Gather them around you, felling their warmth and love. Know that You are in my thoughts. Sending love and healing to you and the family.
    Criss (Weisenberger) Miles.

  3. Michael Bechill
    November 13, 2019 6:23 pm

    I was an undergraduate student at St. Francis when Ken worked here. At the time, I was the student body vice president for SGA. I will never forget my meetings with Ken, he always had such a passion and drive to improve St. Francis. I will always cherish the pride in his eyes when showing off the strategic plan drawings for the universities future. USF is still a better place because of the love he had for us! ~Go Cougars~

  4. Karen Groeber
    November 13, 2019 7:17 pm

    What a beautiful tribute Hannah! I love the story of how you met.
    Deepest sympathy.

  5. Pamela Altmeyer Alvey
    November 13, 2019 8:30 pm

    Ken was such a treasure to Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana as both a Board Member and President of the Board of Directors. His gifts to me, in addition to his unwavering support of our mission, was his consistent good humor that carried us thru the inevitable disasters of a mostly volunteer and rapidly growing organization. I know he is in the best of circumstances now and in his finest golf form but those of us who will miss his presence here are left with memories to tide us over until we’re together again. Many thanks for sharing him with us. We are better for his friendship, counsel and wisdom.

  6. Jayne Flynn
    November 13, 2019 9:27 pm

    Bridget and Thom, Sending prayers for your loss. Your dad was a very blessed person and I know your family and all his friends will miss him so much.

  7. Carrie Grimes
    November 13, 2019 9:38 pm

    I always appreciated how Ken made me feel apart of their family when my family was far away in Nebraska. Many Easters and other holidays were spent together with Bridget and her family and I so appreciated the warm invitation and hospitality from Ken. Love to all of you as you go through this time. May his smile and memories help you through. Love Carrie

  8. Susan Hancock
    November 14, 2019 6:18 am

    Heaven received a great man. He deeply loved his family and especially you Hannah. Prayers are with you all! Love, Susan Hancock

  9. Maggie Smith
    November 14, 2019 8:27 am

    What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful man. I know he will truly be missed by his family and friends. Hannah you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  10. Denny Snavley
    November 14, 2019 10:50 am

    Remembering cousin Ken and fond memories of family reunions and summer visits to the farm in Shelby county when we were kids.
    Sending our deepest sympathy to Hannah and family .

  11. stephen sullivan
    November 14, 2019 12:19 pm

    Ken’s family:

    Sadness and joy fill my heart as I learn of your husband’s, dad’s grandfather’s transitioning from this world to the next. Sadness that he is no longer with us, but joy because he has arrived at his final destination.

    He was a “keeper.”

    My life was enriched, as were the lives of many people, whose life had been touched by Ken.

    I have fond memories of the many chats that we had and seeing his enthusiasm seep through every encounter I have had.

    May he rest in Light!


    Steve Sullivan

  12. Paula Girard
    November 14, 2019 12:35 pm

    Don and I are so very sorry for this loss to your family. I loved reading about his life and how you and he met, Hannah. I did not know Ken that well, having only met him on a few gatherings of your family, but I have seen the results of his being an excellent husband, father and grandfather in you and your girls and grandchildren. He has left a beautiful legacy in you. God bless you all at this time of grief and loss. There is no doubt in my mind that he was welcomed with open arms as he entered the gates of heaven.

  13. Sister Elise Kirss
    November 14, 2019 2:32 pm

    It was a joy to work with Ken at University of Saint Francis. He always brighten the room or discussion as it sounds like he did everywhere he was. I’m sure Ken is enjoying heaven and everyone there with him. My condolences to you, Hannah, and to your family for your loss. Peace, Sister Elise

  14. Noreen Farrell Craven
    November 14, 2019 4:24 pm

    Hannah I never knew Ken was sick. Ken sounds like a wonderful man! I’m so sorry for your loss and wish you and your family peace in knowing he is in heaven even though I know you will miss him greatly. Prayers!!

  15. Matt Smitj
    November 14, 2019 6:31 pm

    I worked with Ken during his tenure at USF. As a young faculty member, I enjoyed learning about the non academic side of the house from Ken. He was always a positive force. Ken loved his family very much.

  16. Mitch Harper
    November 14, 2019 8:58 pm

    A good man with a thoroughly remarkable sense of humor and a good man who was through and through a thoughtful and professional leader.

  17. Wendy (Snavley) Shatto
    November 15, 2019 10:07 am

    What a beautiful tribute to Ken – remember clearly his role as Minister when many of the Snavley cousins performed a mock wedding for our Grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary at our yearly Snavley/Faler family reunion. Our deepest sympathies to you and your family Hannah. Rest in peace Cousin Ken.

  18. Linda Woehr
    November 15, 2019 3:35 pm

    Hannah, you and Ken built a beautiful life together. So very sorry he is gone, and I pray for comfort for you and all your family. God bless you all during this difficult time.

  19. Larry Russell
    November 15, 2019 6:50 pm

    Hannah, Bridgett and Katie Ann:
    You need to know the impression your dad and husband made on my life. Working with Ken for a few short years seems immeasurable in terms of the knowledge, insight and wisdom he passed to me through life lessons and teaching moments. I carry those with me now and make a conscious choice to emulate those “Ken-ism’s” in my path and to those I come in contact with. Honesty, Integrity, Character and wit with humor when appropriate … oh my I will miss this great and impressionable teacher. I only hope you realize the value in my being able to learn from him and that each of you walk forward knowing how many lives he touched in a positive and influential manner. We’ve had a great journey and the highly sought after goal attained. I’m so grateful to have known, walked alongside and learned a great deal from him that otherwise I would have totally missed out on.
    God bless you and your family in this journey and remember to smile and be grateful for the time you’ve had.
    Larry Russell.

  20. Patsy Golden
    November 17, 2019 11:56 am

    Hannah, Bridget,Katie Ann, and Thom,
    There are no words that can ease the pain that I know you are experiencing now . Ken has left an amazing legacy . We all hope that when it is our time to go people reflect on our life as a life well lived . Ken had a life well lived and I am blessed to have known him.

  21. Lynda Evjen
    November 17, 2019 4:12 pm

    Hannah, Bridget,Katie Ann, and Thom,and the boys
    There are no words that can ease the pain that We know you are experiencing now . Ken has left an amazing legacy to us all! We all hope that when it is our time to go our family and friends will reflect on our life as a life well lived . Ken definitely had a life well lived and are blessed to have known him
    And been his friend

  22. Patricia Wakely
    December 18, 2019 8:22 am

    Ken and Hanna were vice presidents of the Immaculate Conception Home School Association when we were presidents. We organized a fundraising event at the local seminary. One of the refreshments Ken suggested was beer – in kegs. We vividly remember carrying heavy kegs of beer into the seminary with Ken. On Easter Sunday Ken was given the task of leading the procession into the church, carrying a huge cross. He said “I’m not sure my sins warranted this penance from the priest.”

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