Kenneth 'Ken' Tenge, 66
Kenneth "Ken" Tenge, age 66 of New Hampton, IA, died Tuesday, May 3, 2022, at his home.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 10, 2022, at Holy Family Catholic Church in New Hampton with Rev. Brian Dellaert celebrating the Mass. Burial will be held at St. Mary's Cemetery in New Hampton.
Friends may greet the family from 4:00 - 8:00 p.m. Monday, May 9, 2022, at Hugeback - Johnson Funeral Home in New Hampton. Visitation continues an hour prior to the Mass at the church on Tuesday.
Ken was welcomed into the world by his parents, Francis and Clara (Seelhammer) Tenge, on April 5, 1956, in New Hampton, IA, and the second oldest of the couple’s seven children to grow up on the family farm near North Washington, IA. Ken helped his parents milk cows and did a variety of farm chores as he attended St. Mary’s Catholic School in North Washington, St. William’s Catholic School in Alta Vista, and New Hampton High School, where he was a member of the Class of 1974.
After graduating, Ken worked at Bob’s Farm Supply in North Washington, which was later purchased by Five Star Cooperative. He was a dedicated employee and filled many different job roles over the years. He worked in the feed mill, drove semi, delivered LP, and took on over-the-road work. He had many nicknames over the years, but his co-workers knew him as “Badger”. After 41 years, he retired from the Co-op in June of 2021.
Ken and his wife, Chris, met while she was working at Midland Feeds where Ken would occasionally pick up feed. They began dating, fell in love, and were married on July 27, 1984, at the Little Brown Church in the Vale. Their family which included Ken’s son Brian and Chris’ children Chad and Jessica blended perfectly together. When they had their daughter, Autumn, the Tenge family was complete. Ken was a pleasant, fun, and kind father who always had a great attitude around the four children, and oftentimes, it’s the little things that make a dad stand out. He was a sentimental man and would easily get “sweaty eyes” when talking about the ones he loved so deeply.
He had a way of making people smile. The kids have fond memories of being outside with their dad. The boys still laugh at Ken teaching them how to trap, or shall we say not to trap, when he got his hand caught in one. His youngest daughter will always remember the Sunday walks she and Ken took to the walnut tree. When they heard an owl hooting, Ken would look at her with a smile and tell her, “You know what he’s saying, right? ‘Who cooks your food.’”
As good as he was at being a father, Ken was an even better “Papa” to his 15 grandchildren. If it’s true that parents “are supposed to raise their children right and grandparents are supposed to spoil their grandchildren” then Ken earned an A. There was no better day for him than one spent with his grandkids.
In his younger days, he enjoyed playing fastpitch softball with a team out of North Washington and enjoyed taking part in demolition derbies. Throughout his life, he had a need for speed. He enjoyed years of boating in their Baja and going for drives in his Corvette. Ken spent much of his life in the great outdoors. He was an avid hunter and enjoyed fishing trips up north with his best buddies. He was a master of putzing in the garage for hours. When he wasn’t at home watching old Westerns, he and Chris spent their time at their trailer in Prairie du Chien, WI where they’ve made unforgettable memories with their closest friends and family members.
His heart has always belonged to his family and friends. He was a great brother, wonderful husband, fantastic father, and phenomenal “Papa” who will be missed by all those whose lives he’s touched.
Ken is survived by his wife, Christine Tenge of New Hampton; son, Brian (Janie) Tenge of New Hampton; daughter, Autumn (Brandon) Schrage of Cedar Falls; stepson, Chad (Pam) Rausch of Ionia; stepdaughter, Jessica McGraw of Cedar Falls; grandchildren, Kiersten, Ben, and Bailee Tenge, Liam and Emma Elliott, Vayda and Gavin Schrage, Devin (Brooke) and Bryce Rausch, Liv and Dylan McGraw, Courtney Reicherts, Lacey Overmyer and Joey Willitts; two brothers, Mike (Deb) Tenge of New Hampton, and Tom (Barb) Tenge of Roan Mountain, TN; and four sisters, Cathy Tenge of New Hampton, Cindy (Rodney) Lenehan of New Hampton, Jan Tenge of Reston, VA, and Karen (Gary) Busta of Hampton, MN.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Francis and Clara Tenge; one brother, Patrick Tenge in infancy; brother-in-law, Steven Leadbeater; and sister-in-law, Jeannine Burgart.