Kenneth E. “Ken” Peery, age 93, passed into the care of his Eternal Father on Saturday, August 10, 2019 at University of Kansas Health System St. Francis Campus in Topeka, KS.
Ken was born October 18, 1925 in Newton, KS to E.J. and Mabel (Pierson) Peery and raised in Emporia, KS. Ken graduated from Emporia High School in 1943 and began college at Emporia State. When WWII interrupted, he enlisted in the US Navy through an officer training program and was called to active service in November 1943. He was commissioned an Ensign in August 1945. He served aboard the carrier escort USS Savo Island in the Pacific and aboard LSM 470 on the Yangtze River in China. Ken continued his service in the Naval Reserves retiring as a lieutenant in the 1970s.
After the war, Ken completed his bachelor’s degree at Emporia State and earned his LLB from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1950 and a Master of Law from George Washington University in 1957. He practiced law first in Emporia, then as an attorney for the US Department of Agriculture in Washington DC (1955-62), before settling into a solo practice in Concordia, KS from 1962-1982 where Ken served as Cloud County Attorney and Municipal Judge.
Ken married Doris Jean Wagner of Emporia on June 7, 1953. Doris was a faithful, loving and spirit-filled companion throughout his journey on this earth. The local church was always at the center of their lives. Ken was deeply involved in the life of the church as a servant-leader, including as deacon at Emporia and Concordia First Baptist Churches and lay leader at Colonial Presbyterian Church in Kansas City, Immanuel Baptist Church in Rogers, AR and First Baptist Church in Topeka, KS.
Ken was active in the Christian Legal Society, an affiliation that fueled his calling to combine the ideals of his faith with the best ideals of the legal profession. In 1982, he ended his practice in Concordia and relocated to Kansas City where he founded the Heart of America Christian Justice Center which provided alternative dispute resolution and reconciliation services. He continued this work after his retirement, helping to found a similar service in Northwest Arkansas.
Ken had a lifelong interest in politics and civic engagement. A proud Republican, he was an energetic campaigner, on his own behalf in North Central Kansas, and for various candidates in Kansas and Arkansas, including Governor Mike Huckabee. Ken served as GOP precinct chairman up to the time of his passing.
Ken was proud of his affiliation with the Boy Scouts of America, earning his Eagle Scout rank in 1942 and serving as Scoutmaster for Troop 39 in Concordia. A diehard Jayhawk fan, Ken never missed a broadcast of any KU football or basketball game. While living in Topeka, Ken enjoyed his Tuesday morning bible studies with the Topeka Fellowship Group, where he also served on the board.
An avid outdoorsman (though not a hunter or fisherman), Ken loved to take his family on camping and hiking trips, almost always with a canoe strapped on top of the car. He became a proficient sailor and loved to be on the water. Upon retirement, Ken and Doris lived for several years on Beaver Lake, AR before resettling in Topeka, KS to be near their grandchildren. Ken’s final years were devoted to caring for Doris as she progressed through the stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
Ken is survived by his wife of 66 years, Doris Jean, who resides in the memory care unit at Brewster Place in Topeka; sons, Patrick (Cheri) Peery, Lawrence, KS and John (Marianne) Peery, Jessup, MD; grandchildren, Jessica Humphreys and Sarah Michael, Topeka, Sam Peery, Overland Park, Anna Peery, Menlo Park, CA, Andrew Peery, Key West, FL, and Lydia Peery, Jessup, MD, and nine great grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister, Virginia Clay, Dallas, TX with whom he was very close.
A Celebration of Life will be conducted at The First Baptist Church of Topeka, KS on September 7, 2019 at 11:00 am. All are welcome to attend a light luncheon at the church following services. The family suggests that contributions be made to the Alzheimer’s Association and sent in care of Davidson Funeral Home, Topeka.