Kenneth Henry Yarnell, 97 of Keely Road Franklin, Pa continued his journey to the Lord on September 26, 2016 after a time of declining health. Kenneth passed in peace with family in his home.
Born March 29, 1919, he was the firstborn beloved son of Goldie Marie Mealy Yarnell and Phillip Daniel Yarnell.
Kenneth spent many of his boyhood and youth years in Petroleum Center where his family lived. His great love of the outdoors was rooted in a childhood of hiking, fishing and observing the natural world. He spent many summers helping at the Mealy farm in Tionesta and early on gained knowledge of working the land and working with animals. Ken graduated from Oil City High School in 1937with an exceptional record. He worked at Reed Machine Shop and Turners Orchard for several years. In 1940, Ken enlisted in the 21st Army Engineers after having passed the educational exams with a rating of superior adult, which was seldom attained by any applicant. He served most of his military years with the 14th Army Air Force Aviation Engineers in China, India, Burma and Iceland (in Iceland he served with the 824th Aviation Engineers). He attained the rank of Master Sergeant and was discharged in 1945.
He married the love of his life, Helen Theola Grove in 1940 and began a 67 year long romance and partnership. They were introduced by dear friends Mary Voight Francisco and Lee Francisco who remained friends over the years.
Ken and Helen started their marriage with many years of being apart due to WWII and their years of correspondence are an inspiration. After the war Ken returned to this area to work for the department of transportation for several years while he studied at night to obtain his professional civil engineering license. He was the City Engineer of Franklin for two years and City Engineer of Oil City for 5years. In 1964 he returned to Penn Dot and retired in 1979. His church families include: First Evangelical Church in Franklin, Galloway United Methodist and Christ United Methodist Church in Franklin.
Ken was a lifelong learner whose of love of God, family and nature have influenced several generations of family and all who met and knew him. He approached each day with faith and joy, he believed in being fully engaged in the world. After many years of living in towns, Ken and Helen came to the Keely Road property in the 1960s and rapidly transformed a bleak property into a lush and productive homestead which included creating gardens, orchards, blueberry patches, ponds, renewing pastures, restoring wildlife habitat and planting 3000 trees. Kens gardens were epic in bounty and his generosity in sharing the harvest is well known. Several generations of children eagerly anticipated his annual gift of giant pumpkins.
He cared compassionately for all of nature and provided for his family with quiet steadfastness. Ken was an avid fisherman and after retirement Ken and Helen had many years of exploring local waterways as well as several trips to Florida for winter. Several generations of children have been taught to fish due to Ken's skill and his commitment to children. Even though Ken was in declining health over the last two years he continued to enjoy family, (especially children) he enjoyed watching birds and this summer took great pleasure in his daily golf cart ride with son-in� law Paul. Ken was a lifelong helper and served as a volunteer throughout his life until age 93. Among these include volunteer for Boy Scouts, a wide variety of church committees, Meals on Wheels, Tax Aide and he always responded to those who needed help with survey projects.
Surviving are his son Darrell Kenneth Yarnell and spouse Bonnie of Gadsden, Alabama, Cheryl Yarnell and spouse Paul Anderton of Keely Road Franklin, Grandchildren Beth Cochran, Dena Yarnell Balbach, Darrell Yarnell Jr. and Andrew Yarnell. He is survived by 15 great grandchildren and 12 great- great grandchildren.
Also surviving are his sisters Beatrice Yarnell Turner of Franklin, Norma Yarnell Woods and spouse Curt of Sugarcreek as well as numerous nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents Goldie and Phillip he was preceded in death by the following much loved family members: beloved wife Helen Theola Grove Yarnell, sister Bettie Yarnell Boyd, brother Leroy Yarnell and grandchild Denise Yarnell Sharp.
There will be no public visitation but a private family visitation will be held at the funeral home.
Funeral arrangements entrusted to Huff Funeral Home & Cremation Services Inc., 312 W. Park St. Franklin.
A funeral service and celebration of Ken's life will be held at 2:00 P.M. on Thursday at Christ United Methodist Church 1135 Buffalo St. Franklin with the Rev. Jeff Little officiating.
Interment will follow at Franklin Cemetery where full military honors will be rendered by the V.E.T.S. Honor Guard.
The family is grateful for and wishes to acknowledge the extraordinary caregiving from our recent caregivers Anne, Barb, Cindy, Connie R., Connie S., Jen and Lisa our VA nurse Julie and the Asera care hospice team. Kens care through the VA has been greatly appreciated.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions are suggested to the Venango County Humane Society P.O. Box 1045 Oil City, PA 16301 or the Skye Spirit Wildlife Rehabilitation Center889 Farren Surrena Rd, Harrisville, PA 16038 and we encourage you to plant trees.
Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.HuffFuneral.com.