Kenneth Charles Artkras, of St. Charles, MO, passed away Sunday, June 6, 2021, at the age of 80. loving husband of 60 years to the late Marlene Artkras; cherished son of the late Elmer and Josephine Artkras. Devoted father of Carol Jean (David Mintert) Insalaco, Kathy Ann (Rev. Patrick) Poole, Susan Diane Artkras, and Stacy Marlene (Gary) Hagner; loving grandfather of Kyle Nuetzel, Karl “Alex” Nuetzel, Noah Hagner, Leah Hagner; beloved uncle and friend. Kenneth is preceded in death by his two older sisters Shirley Gregory and JoAnne Artkras.
Kenneth “Kenny” grew up at 724 S. Main St. in St. Charles and attended the local Catholic schools. When he first saw Marlene, it was love at first sight. They dated for four years then married in 1961 at St. Peter Catholic Church. Like his German forefathers, Kenny was frugal, hardworking and therefore able to buy a home for his growing family. Their relationship weathered the ups and downs of a marriage stressed by careers, economics, and raising four girls. We all remember Dad lecturing to us, “Save for the future.” Through it all, Dad faithfully said that he wanted the best for Mom; that she was a good woman. True. Loyal. And that she had great legs!
Kenny held high expectations for himself. He served in the U.S. Army and Army Corp Reserves (1959-1967) as a mechanic and while there, earned marksmanship awards. His mechanical training enabled him to secure a position as an Eastern Airline mechanic (1960-1987.) He was skillful at fixing things, and instilled in his family the values of taking care of tools, vehicles, homes, and more.
“Good luck with that!” Dad sarcastically asserted as we complained about our struggles with school, work and cars. We assumed he was unsympathetic but instead these were the words of a deeply loving father who afforded each of us the space, while remaining ever present, to make our own decisions, to learn the lessons of failure, and to rejoice in the rewards of hard work. Over the years, we learned and even came to appreciate that his mindset was a gift, raising his girls to be independent, aware, and capable of pursuing our goals, which included his goal that each of us attend college. All four of his daughters are part of the first generation in the family to do so. As time honed Kenny, his sensitivity and sentiments were much more evident, learning to hug his family and even to express his love out loud. He was quick to choke up when telling others just how proud he was of each of his daughters and of each grandchild. He sincerely loved each of us.
Kenny was an avid outdoorsman. He thoroughly enjoyed fishing and hunting and shared his passions with his family and friends. His military marksmanship and pursuit of excellence paved the way for additional honors at the gun club. Kenny had a reverence for nature, abiding by the established rules and treating game and the land with the utmost respect. He instilled these values in his daughters and his grandchildren. Through his work and passions, Kenny formed strong bonds with friends, who dearly love him, and these relationships have lasted many, many years.
Dad fought his heart conditions for over 40 years and is now at peace, with a strong heart and with his dearly beloved bride Marlene. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
In honor of Kenny’s older sister JoAnne, born an invalid and who passed at the age of 13, and in lieu of flowers, please send donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.