A man of honorable character and unwavering integrity, Kenneth Wilber accomplished many things of which to be proud, but there was nothing he treasured more than being a father to the son he loved more than life itself.
The 1960s were a vibrant time in American history when the fabric of our nation was as colorful as could be. Civil rights and women’s rights were making great strides while the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union was highlighted by our ability to put a man in space as well as the first man on the moon. It was during this eventful time that a young couple from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was pleased to announce the birth of their baby boy on October 6, 1969. Kenneth John was the fourth of five children born to his parents, Ruben D. and (Clune) Beatrice M. Wilber, and was raised in the family home alongside his siblings, James,Tammy, Michelle, and Shelia. Throughout his formative years Kenny was proud of his Native American heritage and ancestry, and as an Oneida Indian he was part of the tribe. He was a student at local schools through the ninth grade.
New and exciting changes were in store for Kenny when he met the woman with whom he would welcome the son he treasured into the world. Her name was Kristen Engelhardt, and after falling in love they were married on August 10, 2007. Their most cherished blessing came the following year in the form of their son, Kenny, who made his arrival on February 3, 2008. It was easy to see that Kenny lived to be a father, and that his son was his whole world. They shared more than the same name, too, as they were similar in their appearances and mannerisms as well.
Although nothing was better than being with his family, Kenny kept busy with other things as well. His hobbies were primarily a reflection of his Native American heritage as they included beading and making traditional things like pouches, sun catchers, and wind catchers. Kenny was a talented artist who could often be found painting or drawing. He worked as a siding installer in the home improvement industry throughout his career. Kenny’s interests also included passionately cheering on the Green Bay Packers and all things Harley-Davidson.
Life became more difficult for Kenny and his loved ones when he was diagnosed with brain cancer in May of 2010. Although he was given only six months to live, he courageously persevered well beyond that timeline. Eventually the fight became too much, and Kenny drew his last breath surrounded by his beloved family.
Deeply devoted to the people and things he was passionate about, Kenneth Wilber was a blessing to his family and friends. Taken from his loved ones too soon, he will be deeply missed while his memory is forever treasured.
Kenneth J. Wilber died on May 5, 2014. Kenny’s family includes his wife, Kristin; son, Kenny; stepchildren, Keiana and Ashley; mother, Beatrice Wilber; siblings, Tammy Wilber, Michelle Wilber, and Shelia Wilber; mother-in-law, Sally Williamson; and other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his father Rueben D. and older brother James M. Wilber. Visitation Friday, May 9, at the Funeral Home from 4:00 p.m. until time of the Native Ceremony at 5:00 p.m. Suminski LifeStory Funeral Homes, Niemann / Suminski, 2486 S. Kinnickinnic Ave (414) 744-5156. Please visit www.SuminskiFuneralHome.com.
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