Funeral Services for Kenneth H. Edmiston, 84, of Milford, Kansas were held at First Baptist Church, Temple, Oklahoma, on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022 at 10 a.m. Committal and Military Honors were held at Fort Sill National Cemetery, Elgin, OK at 2 p.m. that afternoon. Rev. Kevin Simpson officiated under the direction of Hart-Wyatt Funeral Home in Walters, Oklahoma.
Chaplain Major Kenneth Horton Edmiston, Ret., was born to Vernon Smith and Martha Hallie (Horton) Smith on Aug. 4, 1937, in New Orleans, Louisiana, and later adopted by Lewis Lee Edmiston. He departed this life in Walters, Oklahoma, on Dec. 31, 2021, at the age of 84 years, 4 months and 27 days.
Kenneth was raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and attended High School in Mineral Wells, Texas. He then moved to the territory of Anchorage, Alaska (before statehood) and graduated there in 1955. He Attended Oklahoma Baptist University, Southwestern in Weatherford, Oklahoma, and Baptist Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, receiving multiple master’s degrees along the way.
He married Elizabeth “Ann” Bundren on Jan. 2, 1958, and to this union, four children were born.
After graduating college, Kenneth joined the army to serve as Army Chaplain to the troops. He served in Vietnam and was instrumental in starting numerous orphanages while there. Kenneth received numerous awards while serving. His tours of Duty included Ft. Carson, Giessen Germany, Ft. Hamilton, Fort Sill, Turkey, Ft. Hood and his last duty station as Hospital Chaplain at Ft. Riley, Kansas, where he retired in 1987.
He met and married the love of his life, Gayle Beffa in Junction City Kansas, on Dec. 9, 1989, and they remained happily married for 32 years.
After his retirement, he started Edmiston Family Counseling and began ministering to the Ft. Riley/Junction City community as a marriage and family therapist until 1995. He continued to serve the Lord as pastor to the Korean American Baptist Church in Junction City, Kansas.
During his ministry there, he and his wife Gayle formed many lasting bonds with the Korean community, several of whom consider Kenneth and Gayle as family, referring to them as mom, dad, grandma and grandpa. Kenneth also served as Chaplin for the Geary County Sheriff’s Office. He and Gayle also volunteered with disaster relief ministries.
Kenneth was an Eagle Scout, a scout leader and helped both his sons to obtain the Eagle Scout Rank. He served as a 32nd Degree Mason. He and Gayle were active members of Cross Road Baptist Church in Riley, Kansas. He loved working with his hands, he was self -taught as a master clock restorer of antique clocks. Most importantly he loved to share Jesus with everyone. Kenneth loved sailing and enjoying the view of Lake Milford from his backyard. One of his greatest passions was being Santa. He was Santa for Junction City and was in the Christmas parade for more than 20 years until his health declined in 2016. He even appeared on the Rush Limbaugh show as Santa once.
Kenneth was preceded in death by his parents, Lewis and Martha Edmiston, and Vernon and Dollie Smith; son John Edmiston; and brothers Harry “Leslie” Edmiston and Boyd Edmiston.
Survivors include his wife, Gayle of the home in Milford, Kansas; son, Ken & Cheryl Edmiston of Texas; daughter, LaDonna and Chester Rick, Sterling, Oklahoma; daughter, Mari’a and Kevin Simpson, Walters, Oklahoma; daughter, Amanda and Eric Schaetzel, Longmont, Colorado; son, Mike and Jude Beffa, Saint Roberts, Missouri; John and Chuyon Miller, Yelm, Washington; Kim Bunger, Herrington, Kansas; grandkids, Kelly and Gary Griffin, Bobby and Ashley Shortt, Billy and Brittany Rice, Elizabeth and Matt Schimdt, Heather and Blake Shelton, Brandon and Katie Edmiston, Ken and Stephanie Edmiston, Candice Edmiston, Jessica and JT Jones, Brandon Washington, Dawson Beffa, Chad and Paula Lundeen, Vanessa Guiqley, Naomi Miller, Christina Miller, John Miller Jr., Kymara Gibson; 17 great grandkids; one great-great grandchild; his siblings, Kathleen Curtis, Seattle, Washington, Marsha and Pete Martin, Moore, Oklahoma, Priscilla and David Pinckard, Addis, Louisiana, Forrest and Diane Smith LaPlace, Louisiana, Jerome Vernon “Butch” and Juliette Smith Baton Rouge, Louisiana; brother-in-law, Fred and Marge Beffa, Columbia, Missouri; sister-in-law, Carolyn Roatch of Tennessee; other relatives and a host of friends.
Memorial Donations can be made to Kansas-Nebraska Disaster Relief, Attn: Rebuild Team, 5410 SW 7th St., Topeka, Kansas 66066