Kenneth Mark Somerville, 91, a longtime Grand Rapids, MN resident, died just after sunset on Wednesday (October 28, 2020) of natural causes at his daughter’s home on the Root River in Stewartville, MN.
Ken was born on June 18, 1929 in Brainerd, MN to Harold and Norva (Knutson) Somerville. He grew up in Brainerd, attended Washington High School, graduating in 1947. He enlisted into the US Navy serving 5 years, including duty in Japan during the Korean Conflict. While stationed in Japan he met Masue Masuda and they were married in 1954 in Yokohama. Following his discharge, the couple moved to Nampa, ID where Ken attended Northwest Nazarene College earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. In 1959, they moved to Gresham, OR where Ken was a middle school science and social studies teacher and also began coaching track & field and basketball. He went on to graduate studies during this time and received his Masters in Education from Oregon State University. In 1968 they moved to Grand Rapids Minnesota, where Ken taught junior high social studies and coached the cross-country ski team. He retired in 1992. Ken’s friendly spirit, sense of humor, and boundless energy made his classroom one of the favorite hangouts for students before and after school. Through the years Ken had other jobs to supplement his teacher’s salary, such as driving truck, selling real estate, logging and raising a few head of cattle on their 200 acre hobby farm. Masue was a diligent homemaker and dedicated mother. She and Ken made their home on North Shoal Lake for many happy years. They enjoyed gardening, fishing, riding horse, hunting, and skiing on their northwoods property. Mrs. Somerville died in 1997.
Ken continued to make his home in Grand Rapids. He later found new joy and companionship with Sydney Gray. Together they delighted in RV travel and regularly gathering with friends. They found a place of peace and refuge on Horseshoe Lake. Ken came to Stewartville in August of this year to stay on the river with Faye Anne and Kendall. He was an active member of the Church of the Nazarene for many years and later, the Grand Rapids Alliance Church. He was a classic car enthusiast and drag raced for a number of years in his 1972 Chevelle Malibu. He also restored antique gas pumps. Ken enjoyed visiting with friends, neighbors, former students and loved spending time with his extended family.
Ken is survived by his son and daughter - Daniel Somerville (Edward Schneider) of Seattle, WA and Faye Anne (Kendall) Hughes of Stewartville, MN; 3 grandchildren – Bethany Hughes, Annastacia (Tim) Daugherty, Joshua Hughes (Raul Montiel) and 2 great grandchildren - Owen and Kian Daugherty; his companion and love – Sydney Gray of Grand Rapids and brother – Keith Somerville of Detroit Lakes, MN and niece and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife Masue, his sister Patty, and his parents.
If but one mantra could represent Kenneth Mark Somerville, it would be “There are no strangers, only friends we haven’t met.” His loving spirit was a bright sun that warmed the hearts of those blessed enough to stand in that light.
Due to public health concerns no services will be held at this time. A celebration of Ken’s life is planned for June 18, 2021 in Grand Rapids, time and place to be determined. Ken requested memorials to Grand Rapids Habitat for Humanity or Star of the North Humane Society. Arrangements are with Griffin-Gray Funeral Home in Stewartville. Condolences and memories of Ken are welcome at www.griffin-gray.com.
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