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Celebration of Life
Obituary of Kenneth S. Dewire
Kenneth S. Dewire shook off his mortal coils on April 1, 2023, which suited his sense of whimsy. After all, he never failed to send April 1st texts announcing that he and his wife had just signed a contract to consult in some dangerous faraway place and that they would be departing immediately. He was 92 years young.
Ken was born in Spooner, Wisconsin on May 18, 1930, to Donald S. and Ethel Bernice (Lemmer) Dewire and joined his older brother George. In 1935 the family moved to Delmar N.Y. and were active in the local church and his mother played the organ. From a young age he was steeped in music; piano lessons, choir practice, and sing-a-longs whenever the opportunity arose.
Though out his life Ken was a tireless champion of music and dance. He loved harmonizing and performing in many barbershop groups over the years, most recently with the Rose City Timberliners of Portland. Consequently, he had a song for every occasion and was always ready for an impromptu concert. He never passed a piano without sitting down and playing a Bach sonata or classic 40’s tune. Ken was also known for spontaneously pulling out and playing his flute or harmonica which, he carried in his trusty shoulder bag wherever he went.
As a young man, Ken discovered and developed a passion for folk dancing. Dance became a way to connect with people everywhere he went as he and his wife traveled to far-flung posts during her career with the US State Department. Ken took every possible opportunity to promote dancing stateside as well and started a popular international folk dance class, “Pzazz”, that still meets weekly at Luepke Community Center in Vancouver Washington. Ken was dancing with his good friends just days before his death.
Ken was upbeat, entertaining, generous, playful, and overflowing with gratitude for life’s simple gifts. If you were a friend or family member in his presence, he would almost assuredly exclaim beaming how delighted he was to see you. Then he would either break into song, dance a few steps, or toss a balloon at you.
Ken is survived by the love of his life and wife of 42 years, Dr. Patsy Pool Layne of Lake Oswego, OR. He was the proud father of two daughters, Jessica (Bard) and Christina (Lilli), and stepfather to Mike (Connie), Beverly (Barry), Kate, and Chris (deceased). He was also a loving grandpa to his grandchildren Zach and Hannah, Matt and Alexa, Connor, Lukas, Tess, Elizabeth, and Davy. and later on to the “greats”; Dylan, Jack and Matt Jr., Anna and August, Jane and Macy, and most recently, Bear and Cedar. He rarely missed a youth sporting event, school play, or recital, and was always our number-one fan.
Ken was preceded in death by his older brother George Dewire (Janice). He always looked forward to visits with his nephew and nieces; Steven Dewire (Barbara), Susan Frutchey (Tom), and Nancy Dewire (deceased).
He will be deeply missed.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the Portland Rescue Mission, the Southern Poverty Law Center, or the next musician you see busking on the street.
A celebration of Ken’s life will be held at Mountain Park Church, 40 McNary Parkway, in Lake Oswego on May 20, 2023, at 2:00 pm.
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