Ben V. Jenik (1918-2019)

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Ben V. Jenik entered into rest Jan. 18, 2019, peacefully at his home in Visalia, Calif., at 100 years of age. He was born on the family farm in Menlo, Kan. on May 6, 1918 to Ben and Rosa (Volok) Jenik. He was the sixth of eight children. His brothers were Frank (Phyllis), Fred (Margaret), Beldon (Betty), and Allan (Betty). His sisters were Mabel (Fred Gaede), Alice (Vernon Richmond), and Hester (Eddie Ryan).
All of his siblings, their spouses and his parents preceded him in death.
Ben married Viola Wassemiller Aug. 8, 1947 in Monument, Kan. She preceded him in death on March 11, 2015. They were married 67 years.
To this union are five surviving children: Juanita, Patty, Barbara (John), Les (Donna), and Laurie. He also leaves seven surviving grandchildren: Jopha, Cynthia, Joshua, Kleet, Coltan, Benjamin and Brandon, six great-grandchildren and numerous extended family cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.
One grandson, Rowdy Mangini, preceded him in death in 1988.
Ben’s father passed away when Ben was 11 years old, so to help his mother, he worked the family farm and neighboring dairies. When he was 16, he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and was sent to the CCC camp in Lamoni, Iowa. The CCC was a program to help build roads, bridges, and dams. At age 18, he went to work for the Union Pacific Railroad as one of the “Pick and Shovel Gang”, replacing ties and rail. In 1940, at age 22, he went to work for the Kellner Implement Company, in Oakley, Kan. In June 1942, he was drafted into the Army Air Force at Fort Riley, Kan. Rifle Marksman was his military qualification. His military occupational specialty was Supply Technician. On July 25, 1943, he boarded the Queen Mary for England, where he served during W.W. II, assigned to the 21st Depot Supply Squadron, 8th Army Air Force, 490th Bomb Group, attaining rank of Sergeant. After his discharge on Nov. 12, 1945, he returned to his job at the Kellner Implement Company.
In 1947, he married Viola and they made their home in Oakley, Kan. (1947-1956). In 1956 he moved his family to McDonald, Kan. where he went into a John Deere partnership with his brother Fred (1956-1958). He moved his family to Thornton, Colo. (1958-1959) and then in April of 1959, he moved his family to Visalia, Calif. to work again for his old boss, Lloyd Kellner. Ben continued to work as a John Deere mechanic for over 40 years until he retired in 1983.
He enjoyed taking annual trips to Kansas, gardening, feeding and watching the birds, bowling, and tinkering on various projects.
He was a kind, gentle and peaceful man who will be greatly missed and eternally loved and cherished.
Services will be held at 10 a.m. March 8, at the Kennedy-Koster Funeral Home in Oakley, Kan., with military burial following at the Monument Cemetery in Monument, Kan.

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