Kenneth Kristenson

January 17, 1947 – Sept. 21, 2023

Kenneth (Ken) Kristenson, 76, of Chehalis, WA passed away on September 21, 2023 after a short battle with cancer.

Ken was born to Kermit and Verva Kristenson on January 17, 1947. He grew up with his siblings Don, Kevin, and Janice in Motley, MN on the family farm.

After attending the University of Minnesota where he earned a degree in Agricultural Education, he traveled to Anchorage, Alaska to visit his grandparents. There he joined the Air National Guard and worked construction with his grandfather. Two years later, he moved to Nome, Alaska to teach auto shop at Beltz Boarding School. It was in Nome where he met his future wife, Ellen. They were married in 1973 and continued to teach in northwestern Alaska in the villages of Selawik and Kiana.

They settled in Nome where they raised their two sons, Cam and Eric.

For 15 years, Ken taught a variety of subjects at Nome-Beltz High School: welding, woodworking and house construction. He also coached girls basketball and was an advisor for Vocational Industrial Clubs of America (VICA).

Ken was also a welding instructor at Northwest Community College. He spent many hours out on the tundra and was there with Cam for his first moose at the age of eight. Cam recalls his dad teaching him how to drive at 11-years-old on a long dirt road on the way home from mining camp. Eric remembered a trip to Moon Mountain and his dad putting the watermelon in the river to keep it cold. He always had many projects and hobbies in Nome, but gold mining was near and dear to his heart.

During his time in Alaska, Ken developed an interest in flying and earned his private pilot’s license. He spent many hours flying his plane throughout Alaska and across the United States.

Ken was an active community volunteer throughout his life. In Alaska, he participated in the Civil Air Patrol, Search and Research; he was the president of Nome Education Association and Nome Rotary. In Washington, he was a Guardian ad Litem and an active member of the Chehalis Methodist Church.

After 30 years in Alaska, Ken and Ellen moved to Friday Harbor, Washington on the San Juan Islands. It was there that they built Ken’s dream house. Many days and hours were spent building their house.

Their dog, Kitty, was a welcome companion during that time. When the ferries became more hassle than fun, they decided to move to Ellen’s hometown of Chehalis, Washington. Ken was never one to sit around, he found a community at Centralia Community College where he taught welding for eight years.

They spent the last 15 years surrounded by a large circle of family and friends. In his later years, Ken enjoyed spending time with his three grandkids Graciana, Alipio and Silverio. He also spent many hours in the shop working on welding projects with Eric. One of his most cherished memories was watching Alipio win first place in the Governor’s Cup for Taekwondo.

Ken and Ellen celebrated 50 years of marriage and enjoyed many travels throughout the years.

Ken leaves behind his wife, Ellen (Haskin), and his children Campbell (Malinda) and Eric, as well as his grandchildren. He is survived by his mother Verva Kristenson, his brothers Don and Kevin, and his sister Janice.

He was preceded in death by his father Kermit Kristenson.




The Nome Nugget

PO Box 610
Nome, Alaska 99762

Phone: (907) 443-5235
Fax: (907) 443-5112

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