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Kotrba-Smith Funeral Home

Kotrba-Smith Funeral Home
101 Gerkin
Gregory, SD 57533
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Memories & Candles

“Lori, Kevin, Ryan and family....We were saddened to hear about Ken's passing. Thoughts and prayers are with you.......may your many happy memories of...Read More »
1 of 12 | Posted by: Charlie and Donna Jones - SD

“Lori, Kevin, Ryan and all of Ken's family-- Blessed be the many memories that were shared at memorial service and will be shared for years to come!!...Read More »
2 of 12 | Posted by: Jolene Wehde - Crooks

“Lori am sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family! God bless! ”
3 of 12 | Posted by: Bonnie Moore - Southern Pines, NC

“Sending prayers to each of you on this difficult day...saying goodbye is the hardest part and Ken was such a fun and neat man. Cherish all of the...Read More »
4 of 12 | Posted by: lexi heath - onida, SD - Family

“Ryan, I am sorry to hear of the passing of your dad. Thinking of you and your family during this difficult time. ”
5 of 12 | Posted by: Jeff Portner - Tea, SD

“I am so sorry to hear about your loss. As I look at the photos and read about Ken's life, I wish I would have known him. I love that he rooted for...Read More »
6 of 12 | Posted by: Sandi Pravecek - Denver, CO

“I am very sorry for the loss of Ken. I was very sad to hear the news. I'm very glad I got to see him this summer when you guys passed through Denver. ”
7 of 12 | Posted by: Brent Werner - Denver, CO

“So very sorry to hear of Ken's passing. Holding Lori and family in prayer. ”
8 of 12 | Posted by: Julie Johns - Scottsdale, AZ

“I am so sorry for your loss! Hugs and prayers to you, Lori and your family. ”
9 of 12 | Posted by: Carol Postulka - Pierre, SD

“So sorry for the loss of Ken Sympathy to Lori and families. Lori you are so strong just let God help you to get thru this time of grief Love you Diane ”
10 of 12 | Posted by: Diane Cahoy - Colome, SD

“You are in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time. ”
11 of 12 | Posted by: Darwin & Doris Fritz - Crooks, SD

“We have many memories from fun times in Crooks! You are in our thoughts and prayers. ”
12 of 12 | Posted by: Debbie and Chuck Headrick - SD


Kenneth Leroy Watson was born July 15, 1946 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and passed away on Saturday, January 14, 2017, at age 70 in the Winner Regional Healthcare Center.
Ken graduated from high school in Ulysses, Kansas in 1963 and joined the Navy the following fall. He served in the Navy and Navy Reserves for a total of 14 years, including two tours in Vietnam. Ken cherished his time served in the military and was proud to say he served this great country.

On May 31, 1975, Ken married Lori Stritecky at the Colome United Methodist Church. They moved to Sioux Falls where he worked various jobs until he graduated from Southeast Area Technical Institute with a degree in Electronics. They had two sons, Kevin and Ryan.

In 1979, they moved to Crooks, SD where Ken was active in the community with the Crooks VFW, Tri-Valley Booster Club, Crooks Optimist Club, served on the church board of Benton Lutheran Church, and various baseball programs in Crooks. While in Crooks for 22 years, Ken and his family created lifelong friends not only in Crooks but the surrounding communities which he cherished until his death. He always cherished teaching and coaching not only his own two boys, but numerous kids of the community and showing them life lessons through sports. He was active in the Tri-Valley School district where his sons attended school and graduated from. If there was one thing Ken loved was attending the various activities with friends and supporting his beloved "MUSTANGS". Ken was a current member of the Winner United Methodist Church and Gregory American Legion.

After their sons graduated from high school, Ken and Lori moved to Gregory, SD in 1998 for 5 years. He then followed his wife with her Traveling Nurse Career. They bought a home in Peoria, AZ in 2007 where he worked as a cashier at AJ's Fine Foods and Bashas' Grocery Chain until his retirement in 2013. He was a season ticket holder for the Arizona Cardinals for seven years and enjoyed going to various Arizona Diamondback games and spending time with his family in the Phoenix area. Ken always had a passionate side for animals especially his fur babies Gizmo and Bella.

Due to health issues they recently moved back to Colome, SD in July 2016 to be closer to family and friends. With his love for sports, Ken touched many lives teaching and mentoring kids in the various baseball and basketball programs in the Crooks and Sioux Falls area, but most of all was looking forward to watching his grandchildren grow up. In addition to family time, he also enjoyed his boating, coin collecting, camping, pheasant hunting, cheering on the Denver Broncos and bowling. Ken always wanted was best for the kids of the community and always strived to get the best out of the kids he taught and coached.

Ken is survived by his loving wife, Lori of 42 years; his sons Kevin (Chris) of Canfield, OH, and Ryan (Julie) of Harrisburg, SD; four grandchildren Emily, Gage, Aiden and Isaac; his sister Janelle (Rick) Kishbaugh of McAllister, OK, two brothers Jack (Sherri) Young of Tuscon, AZ, Bob (Diane) Young of Mesa, AZ; and many nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews and great-great nieces and nephew.and many nieces and nephews which he all loved dearly.

He was preceded in death by his mother Wanda Baucum, in-laws Joe and Frieda Stritecky, and his beloved Gizmo.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Funeral servcies for Kenneth Watson, 70, were held Friday, January 20, 2017, at 1:30 p.m. at the United Methodist Church in Winner, SD with Pastor John Britt officiating. A visitation was held Thursday evening from 6-8 p.m. at Kotrba-Smith Funeral Home in Gregory.

Joyce Shavlik, Edna Whetham, Shirley Schwartz, and Linda Kappes were in charge of registration.

Music was provided by Jo Green, pianist, and Geoff Smith, soloist, singing "Amazing Grace My Chains Are Gone" and "Here I Am Lord." Congregational hymns were "How Great Thou Art" and "Blessed Assurance."

Flower attendants were Teri Wegner, Jolene Wehde, Terri Karel, and Lesli Petersek.

Casket Bearers were Brad Wegner, Denny Kappes, Tom Stritecky, Bob Young, Jim Karel, and Gaylon Wehde.

Honorary Casket Bearers Jannelle Kishbagh, Ron Stritecky, Jerry Stritecky, Jack Young, Ed Stritecky, Gary Karel, and all of Ken's baseball teams.

Military Honors were given by the Gregory American Legion and the Navy Honors Program.

Interment was in the Colome City Cemetery, Colome, SD.