Kenneth Merlyn DeWitt, 95, of Hanlontown, died Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019, at Muse-Norris Hospice Inpatient, in Mason City.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, March 1, 2019, at Ward-Van Slyke Colonial Chapel, 101 N. 4th St., Clear Lake, with Pastor Linda Johnson-Prestholt officiating. Burial will be at Mount Vernon Township Cemetery, in rural Burchinal.
Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the funeral home in Clear Lake.
In lieu of customary remembrances, family suggests memorial contributions to a charity of one’s choice.
Kenny was born Aug. 26, 1923, the son of Elmer and Florence (Hollenbeck) DeWitt, in Mason City. He married Rosemary Latham on July 6, 1943, in Robinsdale, Minn. She preceded him in death on Nov. 20, 2003.
Kenny grew up and attended various country schools in North Iowa; graduating from Mason City High School in 1941. He joined the United States Army in January of 1945 and was honorably discharged in the fall of 1946. He served in Japan during World War II, where he protected perimeters of bomb areas, disarmed soldiers in mountainous areas, and served with the military police. During his time in the military, he began playing softball as a pitcher. Softball was played to entertain troops and rebuild a positive relationship with the Japanese.
After returning home from the service, Kenny continued playing softball with teams in and around his community. For most of his career he farmed in Hanlontown while remaining active with other jobs. He served many farmers in the area with his sons by shelling the corn in their cribs. His greatest passion was working to improve and manage his cattle herd and continued to make improvements until his final days. His legacy lives on with his family and in the many compliments they receive from people.
Kenny was a member of the Clear Lake VFW for many years and flew on an honor flight to Washington D.C. where he was honored with other veterans at the World War II Memorial. He enjoyed fishing in Canada, Minnesota, southern Iowa and Table Rock Lake, in Missouri. He also enjoyed the trip he and his son, Tom, took to the Daytona 500.
Kenneth is survived by seven children, Janelle (Rich) Nelson, Terri (John) Datema, Tom (Sharon) DeWitt, Jim (Barb) DeWitt, Connie (Mark) Oltman, Karen (Jim) Mundt, and Billie DeWitt (Darius Piippo); a special grandson, Andy (Kara) DeWitt, 21 more grandchildren, Vicki (Tim) Behrens, Scott (Colleen) Nelson, Colleen (Mitch) Hueman, John Datema, Stacy (Sarah) Datema, Denise Datema, Jodi Datema (Jamie Froning), Heather (Dustin) Huey, Kim DeWitt, Jeremy (Alissa) DeWitt, Michelle (Joe) Turano, Ben DeWitt, Casey (Jordan) Wilson, Justine Brown (Jamie Morris), Jana (Mike) Lindaman, Dawn Oltman-Sundvold, Mark Oltman, Wes (Kelly) Mundt, Jessica Goben, Joe (Megan) Mundt, and Nathaniel Chavez; 32 great-grandchildren, Jacob Nelson, Hannah Nelson, Ashley Hueman, Luke Hueman, Kylee Datema, Tucker Datema, Karter Datema, Amanda Datema, Taylor Datema, Mattanah DeWitt, Micaiah DeWitt, Asher DeWitt, Ender Wilson, Phoenix Wilson, Ashlee Brown, Alec Brown, Madison Lindaman, Derek Lindaman, Schyler Sundvold, Tanner Sundvold, Ashton Vitale, Aidan Mundt, Ian Goben, Tyler Goben, Jake Goben, Garrison Mundt, Andrea Kennedy, Emily Kennedy, Dalton DeWitt, Pyper DeWitt, Xavier DeWitt, Scarlette DeWitt; a great-great-grandson, Eldon Mefford; a sister-in-law, Candy DeWitt; and his faithful companion, Murphy; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents; wife; and siblings, Blanche (Dale) Cline, Francis (Rama) DeWitt, Doris (Leroy) Gourley, Joyce Julsen, Clarice DeWitt, Robert DeWitt, and Iris DeWitt.
Ward-Van Slyke Colonial Chapel, Clear Lake, was in charge of arrangements.