Cover photo for Kenneth J. "Ken" Kurkowski's Obituary
Kenneth J. "Ken" Kurkowski Profile Photo

Kenneth J. "Ken" Kurkowski

December 25, 1936 — November 13, 2023

Carlsbad

Kenneth J. "Ken" Kurkowski

Services will be live-streamed and may be viewed by clicking here at 9:50 AM, MST.

Kenneth J. “Ken” Kurkowski, 86, of Carlsbad, NM, passed away November 13, 2023 at Del Sol Medical Center, El Paso, Texas.  Cremation has taken place, and Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 AM, Tuesday, November 21, 2023 at St. Edward Catholic Church with Fr. Vijay officiating. 

Ken, or Kenny to many of us, was at heart a truly good and kind soul.

Ken was born in Montello, Wisconsin, on Christmas day, 1936, to Hubert and Hilda Kurkowski.  After graduating St. Mary High School in Menasha, Wisconsin, Ken joined the army and was stationed at Fort Dix, New Jersey, for several years. After the Army, Ken returned to Menasha and worked at American Can for 36 years.  Ken and his brother Paul shared a cottage at Boom Bay on Lake Poygan in Larsen, Wisconsin, where he spent many happy years bird hunting and fishing.

Ken married Barbara Kaye (Adams) McKenzie on May 4, 1991.  They soon retired and began to fulfill lifelong travel goals by purchasing an RV and heading west.  Their travel adventure began in fall 1992 when they came to Carlsbad to volunteer for the winter at Brantley Lake State Park.   Though they continued to explore the southwest in the RV for many years, they enjoyed the Carlsbad area so much they bought a house here the very next spring.

Ken had a passion for wood carving that began the age of fifteen.  In earlier years he carved life-like duck and sturgeon decoys along with beautiful decorative ducks and other fowl.  Once moving to the southwest, Ken branched out into Christmas and sports themes, canes, and Yucca walking sticks.  Ken enjoyed spending time with fellow carvers in the Cavern City Carvers Club, both teaching and learning new skills.  He also put his woodworking skills to good use with projects like custom shelving for the Carlsbad Public Library and wooden nature trail placards at Brantley Lake.

Ken and his wife Kaye also felt strongly about volunteer work.  They have enjoyed many years working with Living Desert State Park, the Horticultural Society, Jonah’s House, and Friends of the Carlsbad Public Library.  Ken shared his time, woodworking skills, green thumb, and most importantly his kind heart to this community. Ken was a long-standing parishioner of St. Edward Catholic Church in Carlsbad.

Ken was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Paul, sister Florence and brother-in-law Tom Miller, brother-in-law Donald Booher, and nephew Bill Booher.

He is survived by his wife Kaye, stepchildren Douglas and Barb McKenzie, Jamie McKenzie, Alana (McKenzie) and Dan Schrader, step grandchildren Collin and Evan McKenzie; his sister Donna Booher, nephews and nieces Mike and Lora Booher, Theresa (Booher) and John Hubbs, Kathy (Booher) and Neal Rehse, Leanne Booher, Mark and Jean Miller, Mary (Miller) and Joe Dietrich, Michele (Miller) and Tim Zick, and many wonderful grand nieces and nephews.

Kenny – thanks for the memories, Go Packers, and God Bless the Pollacks!

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