Kenneth W. Chihak
May 27, 1965 ~ February 17, 2022
Kenneth William Chihak, age 56, of Elma, IA went to his heavenly reward surrounded by his family on Thursday, February 17, 2022, due to COVID-19 and complications of Multiple Sclerosis. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 AM on Friday, February 25, 2022 at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Lourdes, IA with Father Jerry Kopacek celebrating the mass. There will be a two hour visitation prior to the funeral mass on Friday. Burial will be at Our Lady of Lourdes Cemetery. Online condolences may be left at www.conway-markhamfh.com. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the charity of your choice. Ken was born May 27th, 1965 to William and Catherine (McGrane) Chihak of Lourdes, IA. As the oldest son of four boys, he learned the value of hard work and the importance of leadership while working on the family farm. It was a responsibility that he took seriously. If any of us boys ever thought about slacking off in our work, we knew Ken was there to keep us moving. Whether it be picking rock or cleaning out the hog houses, he attacked every task with the same determination and made sure we did too. He attended Crestwood Senior High where he displayed a natural talent for both academics and athletics. He achieved all-conference recognition in varsity football and all-state honors in track & field. The latter was even more impressive when you consider his training regime was normally limited to running from the high school to downtown Cresco to get a cream-filled long john from the bakery. After graduating high school in 1983, Ken attended Iowa State University. It was during this time that he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Rather than let this disease limit him, he forged ahead and earned both bachelor and master’s degree in engineering. Soon after, he began working for DeeZee in Ankeny, IA. There, he was blessed to be surrounded by a wonderful and supportive group of co-workers who helped him tremendously as his disease progressed over the years. Unfortunately, after 11 years he was unable to continue to work and moved to Colonial Manor in Elma, IA in February 2002. However, he was able to make new friends there among the staff who would often bring him treats and even Chinese food (one of his favorites) from time to time. The staff couldn’t have been more caring, and it made his time there truly special. While they could never convert him into and Iowa Hawkeye’s fan, he appreciated the vigor with which they tried. And, he enjoyed nothing more than having friends and family members come by to visit and reminisce about old times. Ken was a dichotomy in many ways; while he liked the simple things like NASCAR, broasted chicken, Heinz57 on his steak (blech) and Old Milwaukee beer, he could also talk about random sampling quality testing on production lines, optimizing inventory management and various statistics from over 30 years ago. Multiple Sclerosis could take away his limbs, but it never took his remarkable active mind. Despite being diagnosed at 21 years old, he packed a lot of adventures into his life – some that cannot be printed here. Those of us that he leaves behind will remember his intelligence, his quick wit, and his commitment to his friends and the times he had us laughing so hard we couldn’t breathe. We will miss him deeply. Ken is survived by his parents, his brother Kevin of Scottsdale, AZ, his brother Steve (Melanie) of Moorhead, MN and his brother Mike (Amy) of Norwalk, IA along with his nieces and nephews Christian, Kaitlyn, Natalie, Declan and Callan.