Albin Kenneth “Ken” Winther passed away on Wednesday, March 4, 2020 at Karcher Estates Assisted Living, where he had been a resident for the past several months. He was 97 years old, and was known for his ready smile and quick wit, as well as his love for Gonzaga basketball and Boise State football. Ken was born on March 25, 1922 in Milton-Freewater, Oregon, the oldest son of Johannes Albin “Pop” Winther and his wife, Ruth. He was an active member of the First United Methodist Church, and was a member of the Nampa Kiwanis Club and volunteered for many years at the Nampa Civic Center. He was preceded in death by his wife and constant companion of 60 years, Emma Winther. Ken is survived by his two sons: Rodney Winther of Sanford, North Carolina; and Cary Winther of Putney, Vermont. He is also survived by his two brothers: Paul Winther of Nampa and Tony Winther of Nampa.
Ken’s life was about as rich as any one person might create, revolving around his career as a music educator, his volunteerism, and care for his wife. Like so many of his generation, Ken joined the Navy in 1944, served in Hawaii and Japan, returning home to Nampa in 1946. Upon his return, he taught band at several local schools, including Melba, Kuna and Payette, and was ultimately elected President of the Idaho Music Educators Association in 1957. He and his family moved to Corvallis, Oregon in 1962, where he taught with distinction in the public school district until his retirement in 1982. He also taught at Oregon State University for several years, and was the assistant Director of Bands when OSU traveled to the Rose Bowl in 1964.
In 1982, he and Em moved to Roslyn, Washington and began a new phase of their lives. There, he brought his volunteerism to a new level, serving the Cle Elum Community Church as director of the choir and the handbell choir for 22 years. He found a new love with the Ronald Volunteer Fire Department, where he served as Captain for five years and won multiple awards including the Chief’s Award as Outstanding Fireman. He and Em also became active in the Roslyn Kiwanis Club, where he served as President for 2 terms, and won the Outstanding Service Award for the Pacific Northwest District. While doing all of this, he also served as Secretary/Treasurer for the Driftwood Acres Maintenance Corporation for 15 years. He lost Emma in 2004, when she finally succumbed to multiple sclerosis, a disease that the two of them battled for over 50 years.
He returned to his family roots in Nampa in 2005, where he lived until his recent death due to complications brought on by macular degeneration and myasthenia gravis. While many aspects of his life at the end were difficult to deal with, his family would like to especially thank Ken’s Hospice team from First Choice, and the professional staff at Karcher Estates. Their care and concern for him made his last days as peaceful as possible, and we are indebted to them.
A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, May 2, 2020 beginning at 11:00 am at the Nampa First United Methodist Church, 2717 12th Ave Rd, Nampa, ID 83686.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ken Winther, please visit our floral store.