Ken was born on June 7, 1929, in Lynchburg, VA & passed away June 2, 2020 in Clayton, GA.
His parents: Luther & Gladys Roach; two brothers, Marion & Luther Jr. and first wife, Marie, predeceased him.
He leaves his wife, Nina Arlene, two daughters by his first wife (Marie) Kathryn Heller & Wendy Peterson, (Kenny Peterson) & 2 grandsons Ian & Casey Peterson. He also leaves 3 step sons, Edward, Tim and Andrew Walls & spouses and 6 step-grandchildren and 4 step great-grandchildren.
After completing high school in Lynchburg, Ken worked for a number of years as a lab technician in the tannin extract laboratory of Mead Corporation in Lynchburg.
When drafted into the Army during the Korean War, his experience as a lab tech with Mead, classified him as a Medic. He was assigned to infantry basic training & sent to Ft. Jackson, SC for 12 weeks. He was later transferred to Medical Service School at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas, to complete his Medic training. Ken was then shipped out to serve in the Korean War. He spent his entire service time there in the combat zone treating the service men. After receiving the required number of service points, he was rotated to the States to finish his active service at the Ft. Mead, MD Army Hospital. He was released from active duty three months early. (But unbeknown to him, he was assigned to five years of active Army reserve.)
Using his GI Bill of Rights, he obtained his bachelor’s degree in Science: Special subjects were Mathematics and Physics, all completed in two and a half years. During the last year of college, he obtained a summer position at Babcock & Wilcox, in Akron, Ohio. B & W had just started their nuclear division, which later moved to Ken’s home town of Lynchburg, VA. He continued his last college semester, working half time for B & W in their physics department. Upon receiving his B.S. Degree, B&W transferred him to their physic department in Lynchburg as a staff nuclear physicist. In this position he was associated with some of the best nuclear physicists in the nation. Dr. Milton Edlund was head of the physics department at that time. Ken also worked with Dr. Mel Levine and many other fine scientists.
One of Ken’s assignments with this company was to teach a course in reactor physics to the deck officers of the first nuclear merchant ship, NS Savannah. He also taught for the University of Virginia in their night school extension in Lynchburg for 18 semesters. These were credit courses in Math and Physics.
Kenneth joined the American Nuclear Society in 1960 and after a number of years was awarded the honor of Life member. Later on, he was a co-founder of the Florida ANA Section and served as the second President of that organization. Ken authored and co-authored many papers, as well as making oral presentations for ANS. He served on the ANS Professional Engineering Exam Committee for a number of years before and after retirement. This involved preparing and grading the tests of those seeking the professional engineer (P.E.) status. He also enjoyed many years on the Engineering Advisory Council at the University of Florida.
After approximately ten years, Ken left B&W to join Dr. Walter Zinn’s consulting firm, General Nuclear, in Dunedin, FL. Within a year, Dr. Zinn sold his company to Combustion Engineering, of Connecticut, Ken and five others southern employees then formed their own company, Southern Nuclear Engineering. After being in business for nine successful years, the firm who financed SNE decided to sell the company to the NUS for about three years, and then left to start yet another consulting firm. Southern Science Applications, Inc, a Black & Veatch Company. Ken was a president of this company.
Prior to retirement Ken & Arlene became licensed Ham Radio operators and learned to sail. Kenneth retired in 1991 to explore and enjoy working in many volunteer services. He and his wife Arlene also traveled the United States in their motor home for some years. Music was a special joy in their lives and he and his wife, Arlene sang in many choirs. One of the great joys of living in Clayton, GA was singing with the Piedmont College Community Chorale for eight years. Ken also made the practice CD’s for chorale members. As he wanted to remain anonymous in this, the director called him, her “Angel.” Through the years he enjoyed playing his violin and piano. As a member of the Piano Technician’s Guild, Ken used his piano tuning skills as a missionary project, for many churches. He and his wife Arlene were members of the Mountain Lakes Medical Hospital Auxiliary and served locally in the recovery room for many years.
And there you have some pieces of the life of a wonderful man, honest, ethical, intelligent, multi talented and kind. He was loved and revered by so many. We will all miss him greatly.
Beck Funeral Home, in Clayton, Georgia, is in charge of the arrangements. If there are any questions, please call 706-782-9599. An online Memorial Register Book is available at www.beckfuneralhome.com.
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