Kenneth McConkey | Obituary


Kenneth Roger McConkey, 64, of St Louis, after struggling with pancreatic cancer, passed on to eternal life on April 4, 2019, at Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St Louis. Ken was born January 8, 1955, in East St. Louis, Illinois to William G. and Ruth McConkey (nee Proffer). 

Ken was raised in Monroe County and graduated from the Columbia High School. Ken started his adult working career on Stuckmeyer’s farm. He loved the work but developed a disdain for picking tomatoes. Then he moved on to be a helper in a motorcycle repair shop where he honed his mechanical skills and reinforced his childhood love for motorcycles. Eventually this led to a 17 year part-time job as a Motorcycle Safety Rider Coach, teaching people the skills needed to obtain a motorcycle license. Ken considered this a lifesaving mission. After the motorcycle repair job Ken worked for 43 years as an expert machinist making surgical instruments, especially instruments for eye surgery. His test was to take a one inch square block of steel and using only files, to work that into a sphere with very close tolerances. Ken’s meticulous eye for detail enabled him to excel in apprenticeship training as a surgical instrument maker.

Ken was an active member of Gateway Electric Vehicle Club. He loved everything electric and posted frequently to E.V. forums which led to him making friendships in the E.V. community. Also, he enjoyed showing and talking about his ever-changing and growing collection of electric cars, motorcycles and lawnmowers. Oddly enough, his father worked at Mobil Oil Refinery as an operator and electrician. Oil or electric, Ken was conversant at both.

Ken was always busy working on various projects for others in need of help. His vast array of technical expertise, “out-of-the-box” thinking, and common sense approach helped countless people. Ken’s “servant’s heart”, a gift from God, led him to help others in his everyday walk of life. Ken was dedicated to Jesus and His Church. His early years were spent at St. Paul United Church of Christ in Columbia. Later he joined Gateway Christian Church. He participated in many activities, especially Bible studies, choir, and holiday musicals. His beautiful, rich baritone voice could fill the room. 

Ken was also preceded in death by his grandson Michael Hesselbach Jr., and brother-in-law Arthur R. Woodcock.

Ken is survived by his wife Nancy (nee Loida) of St Louis. They married June 18, 1983 in Maplewood Baptist Church.

Ken is also survived by daughter Rachel Amratiel (Andrew Hill) of St. Clair County, Missouri, daughter Kimberly Miller (Ed) of Kansas City, Mo., grandchildren Angela, Kaley and Solina Carrasco, and great-grandson Alexander James (AJ) of Kansas City, sister Shirley Macias (Herbert) of Rio Rancho, N.M., sister Susan Woodcock of Niceville, Fla., and in-laws Robert (Bob) and Joyce VanSickle of Hillsboro, Mo. Also surviving are his aunt E. Lorraine McConkey of Columbia, and many cousins, nieces and nephews.

A memorial service is planned for 3 p.m. June 15 at Gateway Christian Church, 1951 Des Peres Road, St Louis.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a Christ-centered charity of your choice. 

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