Kenneth D. Laws, 73, of Tonasket, died of cancer June 3 at Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee. He was born in Hamilton, Mont., to Ralph and Geraldine Laws on April 21, 1939.
Being a tall and lanky country boy, Ken excelled in running and marching. He spent four years in the Marine Corps between the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam Era and two additional years in the reserves. He served in Lebanon.
After his military service he owned and operated an auto shop in Welton, Ariz., and then attended Pima Community College in Tucson, and Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, where he studied Engineering and Technology. While living in Tucson, he enjoyed driving in race car competitions and riding motorcycles. During that time he married Carla Chassot. They divorced in 1979. After moving to Washington State he worked on Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee Dams. He also worked for the Corps of Engineers and various construction firms.
In 1985, he married Barbara Woodbury. They would have celebrated 27 years together June 16. Together they built a home near Tonasket. Ken attended Wenatchee Valley College in Wenatchee to update his automotive technician skills and graduated with honors in 1988. He then worked for Damskov Ford and later Hamilton Farm Equipment until he quit working due to surgery for a brain aneurysm and the development of macular degeneration.
Ken became a devoted customer of the Washington Talking Books Library and read almost 5,000 books in the past ten years. He had excellent long-term memory and might have given Ken Jennings a run for his money on Jeopardy. He had an insatiable appetite for knowledge in a wide variety of fields and interests, especially science and technology. One thing on his bucket list was to visit factories and manufacturing plants to see how things were made. Other interests were the Grand Ole Opry and he never missed a Saturday night Lawrence Welk Show.
Ken was happiest out in the country and delighted in finding the first spring lupine, buttercup or shooting star, and watching sunrises and sunsets. He looked so much like Abraham Lincoln that when he once attended a costume party dressed as the President, a little boy approached him and timidly asked, “Mr. Lincoln, could I have a cookie?”
Besides his beloved beagle Barney, his best friend was Jesse Cline with whom he spent many hours over the years, swapping stories, ideas and tools, and cussing politicians.
He was preceded in death by his youngest sister, Lucille Kogan of Moses Lake; and his father, Ralph Laws of Tonasket.
He is survived by his 94-year-old mother Geraldine; his sister, Marlene Laws-Convery, (both of Oroville); brother, Robert Laws, (Tonasket); a niece, Glyniss Kogan and a nephew, Jason Laws; as well as their children. He is also survived by his wife, Barbara; and three step-children: Karen, Shawn, and Kristy; seven step grandchildren and one great grandchild.
His dog Barney is inconsolable. There will be no formal services.