Roger M. Goetz

Roger Goetz Remembers Kenneth Zea (1939-2010)


On Tuesday, February 02, 2010, at 8:21 a.m., Karen Popelka, nee Compton, emailed the following to Kit Struthers, Kathleen Carr, both members of the Ames High School Class of 1958 (of which I am also a member):

I just read in the Friday edition of the Ames Tribune that Kenny Zea passed away. He has lived in Albia for many years and was still very into horses. He may not have been in the graduating class but I remember him being in our class in Jr. High and possibly early high school. Condolences can be sent via e-mail at   It is so sad to hear of the death of our classmates. Bless him and his family.

Kit forwarded the email soon after to our classmates.

I responded with the following email message:

I didn't know Kenny Zea as far as I can remember, but he was in the INDEX of our sophomore yearbook but with no page number references to the body of the yearbook. Perhaps he moved away before home-room pictures were taken?

Linda Van Voorhis, nee Adams, sent the following email on Tuesday, February 02, 2010, at 10:33 p.m.:

When we were out on the acreage north of Ames we had horses, and Kenny Zea was shoeing horses then, he did ours. We saw them at horse shows a lot.

Our classmate, Dave Trump ,whose father Richard Trump was on the Ames High Faculty as a biology teacher when we were students, sent an email to Kit on Tuesday, February 02, 2010, at 8:37 p.m., which she forwarded to the rest of us.  He wrote:

I remember Ken from my Beardshear grade school days. I liked him because he either lived on a farm or had an uncle with a farm and I was really into the idea of being a farmer in those days. When I transferred to Roosevelt School for 6th grade, I lost track of him and don't remember running into him at all at Central or AHS [Ames High School], but I'm pretty sure he dropped out in our sophomore year. The next and last time I saw Ken was in about 1962 when some friends and I drove to Pine Lake in my old Plymouth. But we didn't make it back. The old heap threw a rod and I had to hitch-hike back to Ames to get my folks car to rescue my friends. Some where along the road, as I stood with my thumb out hoping for the next leg of my trip home, a ramshackle old farm truck trundled up and shuddered to a stop. I accepted the offer of a ride and it turned out the driver was Ken Zea! It was out of his way, but he took me all the way home - double-clutching at every shift. I thanked him profusely – but it was the last time I saw Ken – my old grade-school farmer-boy friend.

By the way, were any of you on that trip to Pine Lake with me? I simply don't remember.

Dave Trump

Alex Lykkegaard sent me the following email on Wednesday, February 03, 2010 at 9:27 a.m.:

I have known Ken since we were kids at 1st Baptist. His parents were Native Americans from Tama [Iowa].

His dad was a carpenter. His mom died of cancer when he was young. He liked to pole vault and loved horses.

On the evening of Wednesday, 3 Feb 2010, I sent him this reply:

Dear Alex,

Thanks for your info.

Here is stuff I discovered about the family: From the information about his dad being a carpenter we know that his father's name was Lawrence. There was another Zea family in the Ames City Directories in 1936, 1940-41,1945, and 1949. This was Orrin E. Zea and wife Mary I who lived at 1410 Burnett Ave. In 1940-41, Orin was a janitor at Roosevelt School. In 1945 &1949, Orrin was a custodian at Central Jr. High.

Kenny's parents must have moved to Ames after 1940 and before 1945.

In 1945, Lawrence and wife Ida M. lived at 1128 Stafford Ave. He was employed by Montgomery Ward & Co. Also living at this address was I. Lucille Zea, a supervisor at NW Bell Telephone Co.

In 1949, Lawrence I Zea was a carpenter, and his wife Ida and he still lived at 1128 Stafford Ave.

Here is Lawrence Zea's Social Security info:

Lawrence Zea, birth 05 Dec 1895, death Sep 1982, last residence 50010 (Ames, Story, IA), last benefit 50010 (Ames, Story, IA)

Alex Lykkegaard answered my email on Wednesday, February 03, 2010, at 2:20 p.m.:

Orrin was Ken's grandfather and tended the heating plant at Central JR HI and was the one who could fix the big clock on the 1st floor. I think Orrin passed away while we were students there . Ken had an older sister "Ruby" and a younger sister "?"; the other woman was an aunt or cousin

Here then is the Kenny’s obituary as posted on the internet by the funeral home:

Kenneth "Kenny" Irwin Zea
Saturday, January 30, 2010
1:00 PM until 2:00 PM
Winfield Funeral Home
116 Benton Ave. West
Albia, IA 52531

Saturday, January 30, 2010
2:00 PM
Winfield Funeral Home
116 Benton Ave. West
Albia, IA 52531

Kenneth Irwin Zea , age 70, of Albia, died Wednesday, January 27, 2010, at Monroe County Hospital, Albia. Per Kenny’s wishes, he was cremated and services will be held at 2:00 P.M., Saturday, January 30, 2010 at the Winfield Funeral Home. Visitation will be from 1:00 P.M., until service time also Saturday. There will be a celebration of life trail ride in the spring at Elk Rock State Park.

Kenny was born November 7, 1939, in Denison to Lawrence and Ida (Fisher) Zea. On May 24, 1959, he married Delores (Troutner) Zea.

He enjoyed his horses and was a member of the Albia Saddle Club for more than 20 years. In 1957, he rode his horse from Sioux Falls, SD back to Ames, IA.

He is survived by his partner, JoAnn Ahn of Albia, three daughters, Brenda (Tom) Bunn, Debra Zea of Ames, and Becky (Kirt) Klonglan of Zearing, IA; ex-wife, Delores Zea of Ames; 6 grandchildren; and 5 great grandchildren. Kenny is also survived by on brother, Dale Zea of Aurora, IL. Three sisters, Lucille (Malcolm) Durham of Shreveport, LA, Ruby (Marvin) Sefrna, of Hummeston, and Ruth (Bill) Jenkins, of Corpus Christie, TX; one step-brother, Stan (Twila) Frederickson, of St. Marie, MI; and one step-sister, Pat (Bill) Anderson, of Louisville, KY.

He was preceded in death by his parents Lawrence and Ida; one sister, Louise; and one step-brother Jim Frederickson.