Kenneth D. Vance, age 80, of Louisville, Ohio passed away peacefully in his home following a brief illness on Thursday, June 27, 2019, surrounded by family and friends and his best pal, Rascal. He was born October 5, 1938 in Cleveland, Ohio to the late Paul and Mary Vance.
With limited formal education, Ken accomplished more in his lifetime as a talented artist, engineer, pilot, and musician than many of his counterparts. Ken and his wife Louise spent much of their life traveling across the country in their motorhome, where they engaged in the buying, selling, and trading of Native American artifacts and jewelry through their company the Turquoise Buffalo Gallery. Ken was an avid scuba diver, hunter, and motorcyclist and over the years maintained a collection of airplanes, sailboats, airstreams, motorcycles, and Corvettes. He was a renowned wood carver with over 25 carvings on display at Wall Drug Store, a famous tourist attraction located near the Badlands of South Dakota. Ken’s ability to transform massive wood structures into life-size replicas of historical western figures, totem poles, and notable signage is unparalleled. His talents have been recognized in numerous publications, including an episode of the television show Del’s Folks. Ken’s engineering feats include the Jennie Wade Sternwheeler and several amusement park attractions at the once International Village in Gettysburg, PA, as well as a homebuilt seaplane and many other inventions around his home. Even in his later years, Ken never slowed down. He established a band, The Memory Spinners, who performed classic country western music at area nursing homes and festivals. He and Louise enjoyed gardening, caring for a host of stay cats, and throwing monthly “sing-alongs” with fellow musicians in a two-story music hall he and his son constructed at his home’s “More Work” park.
Ken is preceded in death by two brothers, Paul Jr. and Don (Nancy) Vance, and nephews, Dale and Danny Vance. Ken is survived by his wife of 63 years, Louise; only son, Ron and Barb Vance; only grandchild, Amanda and Brian Wycuff; and only great-grandchild, Morgan. He is also survived by one brother, Glenn Vance; sister-in-law Billie Vance; nephews Neil (Becky), Gary, and Michael (Ann) Vance; great-nephews Jeff (Savannah) and Lincoln Vance; great-niece Veronica Vance; “adopted” family members Dave Macdonald and Phillip Wise; and his kitties Rascal and Pawpaw as well as many others.
Family will receive friends at Stier-Isreal Funeral Home in Louisville from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday July 3, 2019, in place of a service, per Ken’s wishes.