October 28, 1949-February 15, 2020
Kenneth Lee Charles, 70, passed away after a 22-month long battle with Melanoma on Saturday, February 15, 2020 at the HopeWest Care Center surrounded by family. Ken was born in Montrose, Colorado on October 28, 1949 to John and Nora Charles. He grew up in Ouray, the youngest of five children.
He had two sisters, Ruby “Sis” and Jean “Jeannie”, as well as two brothers, William “Bill” and John “Jay”.
Ken graduated in 1967, enlisted in the Army in 1969 and proudly served during the Vietnam War from 1969 to 1971. Upon returning to Ouray, he followed in the footsteps of other family members and started a career in mining. Before retiring, his resume would display a wide variety of careers, including construction, ranching, city and county employee – a “Jack of All Trades”.
Ken married LaVerne Karlesky on New Year’s Eve in 1974. Together they raised three daughters – Julie, Kym and Kendra. They moved to Alaska, then back to Ouray for a short time, before beginning many life ventures together. Ken loved animals, children and volunteering his time wherever he was needed. Some of his favorite memories were of time spent in Ouray, coaching Little League with Raymond Markey, one of his long-time childhood friends. Some of his other ventures included volunteering for the Ridgway Fire Department, owning and operating Ridgway Liquors, snowmobile races in Ridgway and ranching. He began ranching after moving to Montrose – starting with cattle, but adding many other animals to their “clan” along the way, before settling in Delta with goats.
Ken enjoyed farm auctions; spending time with his family, friends and animals; reading and helping others. One of his favorite pastimes was pulling practical jokes. His smile, laugh and “chuckle” will forever be in our hearts. Ken was a good man and will be sorely missed by all who survive him.
After LaVerne passed in 2013, he married Kathy “Kacie” Charles on September 28, 2015. She joined him on his goat farm, and final venture, in Delta. Kathy was able to comfort and cherish him for the last several years of his life.
Surviving family members who were blessed to share Ken’s life include his wife, Kathy; daughters Julie (Craig) Bradford, Kym (Kyle) Thompson and Kendra (Mike) Jenkins; grandchildren Justin (Michaela) Kahle, Aime & Paige Collins, Scott & Sarah Brooner; great grandchildren Damon Kahle & Mark Brooner; stepdaughter Jenny Voss and her children Katie and Avian; and Kathy’s grandchildren Caitlyn Schroeder and Lacie (Derek) Trout.
He is also survived by his brother Bill (Cathy); sister Jeannie (George Straw); many other nieces, nephews, family members and friends.
He was preceded in death by his father and mother; his first wife; his sister “Sis”; his brother “Jay”; and his nephew John.
Per his wishes, there will be no service. Memorial contributions can be made to HopeWest Hospice, 3090 North 12th St, #B, Grand Junction, CO 81506.