The Life and Times of Kenneth Edward "Ken" Kallmeyer -- 1941-2012 as remembered and recorded by his family.
Ken was born to Joseph and Bertha (Foltz) Kallmeyer on June 14, 1941. Keith, Lenny, Kathie, Bobby, Karen and Linda followed to complete the family. He went to St. Joseph in Crescent Springs and St. Henry High School, graduating in 1959. In 1963, he married his wife, Jan, and welcomed her three children into his life. Ken and Jan had four additional children: Kenny, Elaine, Kerri and Kevin.
Ken developed a strong work ethic at a young age, starting with his grandfather's farm and his father's grocery store. He began working at Jim's Tresler Comet at age 16. In 1961, he took over the Tresler Comet after the untimely death of the owner. Thus was the beginning of Ken's Service, a towing and auto repair company, what many still refer to as "the garage".
Ken's mathematic mind allowed him to expertly assess an accident scene just as if solving a complicated puzzle. Over the years, Ken had become what many in the towing industry call an expert on building tow trucks, especially Holmes truck bodies.
Ken's business was a family business - many of his brothers, sisters and children worked with him over the years. His children have fond memories of going on service calls with Ken. He started his sons in the business at young ages, teaching them the ropes and chains of the wrecker business.
Over the years, Ken kept busy multi-tasking as he also founded Crestville Lawn and Garden and Gillispie Mobile Home Movers. He began selling and installing Zacklifts as their East Coast Distributor in the mid 80's.
Being an owner of a service business, Ken was heavily involved in the community. He expanded his life of a public servant by volunteering at Crescent Springs Fire Department. He was Fire Chief from 1972 to 1978, following in his father's footsteps. Ken lived across the street from the firehouse in the early years, his children recall the button in his bedroom that sounded the alarms. During his tenure as chief, the current fire house in Crescent Springs was built. Ken presided over the dedication ceremony in 1975, dedicating the building to his father Joseph, with his mother Bertha christening the building.
A public servant such as Ken did not work "normal" hours. Accidents and fire emergencies happened at all hours of the day. Missed family dinners and 3AM emergency calls were not unusual. A wedding anniversary celebration was once cancelled because he was called to the airport to rescue an airplane that had gone off the runway and gotten stuck. Ken was dedicated to his life of service.
In the 70's Ken and Jan began square dancing classes at Baker Hunt in Covington. They loved dancing so much that Ken took on yet another role as Square Dance caller and began having regular dances in his basement. Ken attended caller schools where he met many great callers, received sound advice, made good friends and had great times. He taught classes for many years and began Crescent Squares dance club and a club for teens to accommodate his children and the children of other dancers. He even had his very own "one hit wonder" when he recorded a Square Dance record to the song "Wizard on the Hill".
Ken became the patriarch of the family at a young age upon the early death of his father. He was a true patriarch in every sense of the word, the Kallmeyer DON if you will. His brothers and sisters as well as his children looked to him for guidance throughout the years. He was also the family historian, keeping track of dates, names, sweet slices of family history that he could recall in such an uncanny way no one else could manage.
Ken was a devoted father and grandfather who loved his family dearly. He loved to cook breakfast for everyone, his specialty being plate sized pancakes. Staying close to his family was important - he hosted family Christmas parties for his siblings and their families (where he enjoyed showing off his skill at Euchre), organizing family dinners, driving by his children's houses to ensure all was safe and quick stop-ins just for hugs from grandchildren. He was always called on to lead the birthday song, even though most could not match his voice.
Ken wore many hats and leaves very large shoes to fill. To his children he was "dad" and "daddy". Big Brother to his 6 siblings. To his grandchildren (Susan, Nicole, Emma, Aubrey, Riley, Kyle, Cassondra, Katrina, Ryan, Corey, Janice, Jesse, Joshua, and Dustan) he was "Poppy" a nickname he admittedly cherished. To his wife of 28 years, Mary Janice "Jan", he was "dear" or maybe a few other names husbands can be called from time to time that we should not mention. Ken was a lot of things for a lot of people. A hero of sorts to many; a hero in a big truck.
Ken never really "met a stranger" as he was able to talk to anyone anywhere. He was never too busy to call an old friend and loved to reminisce. There is a game that is played called "Six Degrees of Separation". Well, in Ken's world, there is about 2 degrees of "I knew your dad, or your grandpa" and when he spoke of others they were always referred to as "good friends."
Ken will be remembered for his bigger than life personality, his booming voice, his passionate opinions about everything. He guarded his emotions, always wanting to appear strong, but his family knew him to cry like a baby, to worry himself over them, to be overprotective and fight for them. But mostly, they knew him for the love he gave, without question.
As Ken would say to finish every square dance he called, "Go in Peace, with hope in your heart, laughter on your lips, love in your eyes. And if the Good Lord gives you lemons, make lemonade."
***Ken was a lifetime member and retired Fire Chief for the Crescent Springs/Villa Hills Fire Department, a member of Towing and Recovery Association in Kentucky and Ohio, Founder and Former President of Promenade Palace in Latonia, a member of Northern Kentucky Square Dancers Federation, Member of Callerlab Association of Square Dance Callers, member of American Truck Historical Society International, member of the Lions Club, and a Kentucky Colonel.
- Commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel on 10/02/1975
- Bachelor of Round Dance April 14, 1980
- Turkey Run Square and Round Dance College July 25, 1980 where they met very good friends Dick and Martha Han and George and Dee Amos. Dick Han became Ken's "mentor" of sorts.
- Participated in Early American Square Dance Cotillion on September 18-21, 1980
- Square Dance Caller's College, Champaign, Illinois July 11, 1985
- Turkey Run Square and Round Dance College July 23, 1982