Kenneth Buffington - March 01, 2014
Kenneth Scott Buffington died March 1, 2014, at his home. He was 94. His life was well lived. He was a dedicated and loving husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. Ken’s greatest gifts were his positive attitude and his love of people.
Ken was the youngest son of Warren Burton Buffington and Hazel Ruth (Scott) Buffington. He was born on Sept. 30, 1919, in a rural farm area south of Wauneta, Neb. He began his formal schooling in a one room country school house, which he attended through the eighth grade. He and his brother, Bob, batched together in town while attending Wauneta High School. They lived in a used-to-be chicken coop and ate cold pancakes for breakfast. Throughout his four years in high school, Ken lettered in football, basketball, baseball and tennis. He was a naturally talented athlete and baseball was his first love. He graduated from high school in 1938. He later played pro baseball in Nebraska.
After graduation Ken worked on the Buffington family farm. His dream was to attend college at the University of Nebraska and play for The Huskers, but a hail storm wiped out the dry land wheat crop that year so there was no money to go to college.
In August of 1942 Ken volunteered and joined the United States Navy. A Nebraska farm boy’s choice of the Navy made no sense, but he wanted a dry warm place to sleep. He served in World War II aboard a destroyer, the USS Farenholt. He was a radar man for three and a half years. The USS Farenholt DD491 was involved in many battles in the South Pacific and received 13 medals of commendation. His ship was hit by a torpedo that did extensive damage and it was necessary to return to San Francisco for repairs.
It was at this time that Ken went home on leave and was united in marriage to Nina Horn on April 26, 1944, at the United Methodist Church in Benkelman, Neb. After a short honeymoon in Denver, Colo., at the Argonaut Hotel, Ken returned to over seas duty and served until he safely returned home and received his Honorable Discharge.
After the war was over Ken and Nina built a new home in Benkelman and started a plumbing and heating business. They raised two children, a daughter, Gail Maureen, and a son, Gary Kenneth.
Ken was very active in the community. He served on the United Methodist Church Board, the Town Council, the Volunteer Fire Department and was the Service Officer for the Benkelman American Legion Post.
?In 1956 Ken moved his family to Fort Collins, Colo. Both Ken and Nina believed that education was a necessary ingredient for success and wanted their children to have the educational opportunities available to them in northern Colorado. Ken worked in the plumbing and heating business for over 30 years. He had many customers that always asked for him to do their work.
Ken was an ardent sports fan all his life. He loved his New York Yankees. Both Ken and Nina were active with the “Poudre Boosters” at Poudre High School, where both Gail and Gary graduated.
?He was also instrumental in helping start youth baseball in Fort Collins in 1961. He recently joined the Fort Collins Baseball Club in celebrating their 50th Anniversary of providing the youth of the Fort Collins community the opportunity to play the game of baseball.
Through the years, Ken and Nina supported and attended many of the school activities and sporting events of their children and grand children. They were always very proud of what they had accomplished in their education and in their chosen professions.
After his retirement golf became his passion sport. He could be outside in the fresh air and he loved the competition and was really good at it, too. He made his first hole-in-one at age 77. Then he went on to score three more holes-in-one. His last one was when he was 85. Every person he had the pleasure of meeting, he would ask them if they golfed and if they said no he would tell them,” Well you better get out there and learn.” Even after his fall, which resulted in a broken femur bone and then rehab, he was still at the Cat Tails Course in Loveland at age 93 with his wheels (his walker). Golfing kept him moving and gave him something to look forward to and have fun at.
Ken was an amazing man and a great role model.
He was preceded in death by his parents, all of his four siblings: Bill, Warren, Bob and Betty and his dear, sweet wife, Nina.
He is survived by daughter Gail of Longmont and husband John Ward; son Gary Buffington of Fort Collins and wife Sally; five grandchildren: Jennifer and husband Mike McCabe of Kansas City, Mo.; Marc Buffington and wife Kate of Fort Collins and great grandson Logan Buffington; Kimberly and husband Glen Porter of Cheyenne, Wyo., and grandsons Matthew Buffington of Colorado Springs and Kevin Ward of Longmont. Also, he is survived by many nieces and nephews from Nebraska, Colorado and Arizona.
A celebration of Ken’s life was held at 11 a.m. on Friday, March 7, 2014, at Timberline Church in Fort Collins with a reception held immediately following the service.
Interment was conducted by the Bohlender Funeral Home at Grandview Cemetery. Military honors were given by active Navy personnel and the Fort Collins All Veterans Honor Guard.
Memorial contributions may be made in Ken’s name to Pathways Hospice of Northern Colorado, Fort Collins Youth Baseball or to the Poudre High School Impala Fund in care of Bohlender Funeral Chapel, 121 W. Olive St., Fort Collins, CO 80524.