Ken started his last day like any other. He rose and had coffee and breakfast with his wife of 50 years, Nancy in their winter home of Mesa, AZ. Afterward he spent an hour practicing piano in preparation for the numerous performances that were coming up. He then went to dance practice for the Good Time Singers, a singing and dancing group his was the director for. He then met with Nancy for lunch at Subway down on Ellsworth Road. They came back to their home and Ken decided to go grocery shopping. Nancy went to go play bridge.
After returning from shopping, Ken practiced some more piano and then went on to band practice in the early afternoon. He went early and helped setup chairs and hand out sheet music. He was standing visiting with the tuba player before practice when without warning and with no distress, he stopped responding to conversation. Those nearby sat him down on a nearby chair and then he slumped and they laid him on the floor. He remained unresponsive and CPR was begun. EMS was there in minutes and he was transported to nearby Banner Baywood Hospital.
After a heroic hour of work by the first responders, paramedics, doctors and nurses he was pronounced dead at approximately 3:50 pm. Nancy was called from her bridge game and reached his side as they put Ken in the ambulance. She rode with him to the hospital. She said she knew he was gone when there where loading him into the ambulance. He had gone to be with a larger choir.
Those visiting with him during his last minutes said that he was there with them joking and laughing one minute and then he was gone. He died with no pain, no distress and no fear. He died doing what he loved – visiting, laughing and joking around with friends against the backdrop of music and in this instance, band.
Ken had struggled with asthma most of his adult life, but for the last year he had little or no asthma trouble. He had spend the summer on the farm, working and preparing for the family reunion in September. He had not been able to work this hard in the years before because of his asthma. He never was able to help setup chairs for band practice before until this year so he was feeling great serving in this way. He had danced, sang and played musical instruments the day he died and had a very, very good day.