Kenneth Gerald Stites passed away on February 13, 2019 at his loved country residence, a place of serene open farm land and the clear rolling waters of Bear Creek. “Kenny” was 76 years old, only 23 days shy of his 77th birthday. Ken had a full life that included family, friends, and giving back. He persevered through great hardships and even greater accomplishments. His passing came as a complete shock considering he was the most stubborn man we knew. Tough too.
Ken was born and raised in the country outside New Market, Iowa, graduating high school in New Market. He then attended Northwest Missouri State University, earning both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. During his time spent as an educator he held positions of teacher, coach, and vice-principal. He married Linda Stites in 1969. Soon after they started a family. In 1977, they moved to Osage Beach, Missouri, where they owned and ran Hilltop Motel for 18 years while continuing to raise their four children. During part of this time, Ken also enjoyed managing Tan-Tar-A’s riding stables. Ken finished his working career with the United States Postal Service.
Dad was always an active member of Harper Chapel United Methodist Church, and previously served on the Board of Trustees. As a Stephen Minister, he was a consistent visitor to elders at Lakeside Meadows Retirement Home. He also served regularly on the hospitality team and participated in the weekly men’s Bible study. Other than his enjoyed commitments with the church, Dad was dedicated to his family. He would call and visit our families frequently, and he never showed up empty handed. He may bring anything from magazines to candy, but he always brought the bakery. His love of “day old” (or more) bread deals will never be forgotten. And yes, Ken, that too will be missed.
Dad’s favorite past times were feeding his gigantic heard of humming birds and tending to the farm grounds while cutting decades worth of wood for the stove. He loved the visits very much by his kids and any of his 11 grandkids out to the farm, where he panicked and entertained alike. Canoe trips were another great family outing. Despite our struggles through Dad’s hardships with alcoholism, we are proud he remained active in Alcoholics Anonymous for over 20 years. He realized his mistakes and addiction and worked to help guide other individuals who also struggled with the disease.
Ken was preceded in death by his mother and father, Lela and Elmer Stites, as well as his ex-wife, Linda Stites. He is survived by his daughter Kelly Ferguson, and favorite son in law Chris Ferguson of Wildwood, Missouri. With grandchildren Emma (19), Abigail (17), and Owen (14). His son, Kris Stites, and wife Alicia Stites of Palm Harbor, Florida. With grandchildren Connor (20), Kiersten (18), and Madison (18). His son, Kraig Stites, and wife Jacqui Stites of Saint Joseph, Missouri. With grandchildren Grace (17) and Olivia (14). His son, Kirk Stites, and wife Ashlie Stites of Macks Creek, Missouri. With grandchildren Beau (13), Bella (9), and Brekston (5). His brothers, Bob Stites and Byron Stites, and his sister, Joyce Stites.
Services will be held Friday, February 22, 2019 at 12:00 p.m. at Harper Chapel United Methodist Church in Osage Beach, Missouri. The family will welcome friends for visitation from 10:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. prior to service at the church. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Harper Chapel Stephen Ministries.
Expressions of sympathy may be shared online at www.hedgesscottfuneralhomes.com. Arrangements have been placed in the care of Hedges-Scott Funeral Home, Osage Beach, Missouri.