Richard Kenneth 'Ken' DeCamp Sr., 66, of Wasilla, died Dec. 9, 2007, at home after a 10-year battle with lipsarcoma, a rare form of cancer. A reception and celebration of friendship and life will be from 2-5 p.m. Sunday at Evangelo's Restaurant in Wasilla. An obituary was published Friday.
July 18, 1941 ~ Dec. 9, 2007
Wasilla resident Richard Kenneth "Ken" DeCamp Sr., 66, died Dec. 9, 2007, at home after a 10-year battle with liposarcoma, a rare form of cancer.
Ken was born July 18, 1941, in Grants Pass, Ore., to Richard E. and Eleanor (Sherman) DeCamp. He grew up in Salem, Ore., and graduated from South Salem High School in 1959. Ken attended Oregon State University and earned an associate's degree in land surveying from the Oregon Institute of Technology in the early '70s. He worked as a professional land surveyor.
Ken came to Alaska in 1967 with the Bureau of Land Management. He worked for Dowl engineers for a decade before opening his own business in Wasilla with partners Floyd Dollerhide and Bill Brown. Ken lived in the Wasilla area for the last 30 years, where he owned and operated Ken DeCamp Land Surveying. He served two terms on the Wasilla City Council and was mayor of Wasilla when the city transitioned from second- to first-class status. Ken also served terms on the platting board for the Mat-Su Borough. He taught surveying courses at Anchorage Community College in the '80s and spent his life mentoring young surveyors and promoting his profession. He was a licensed surveyor in Alaska, Washington, Idaho, California, Colorado and Nevada. Ken served terms as president and board member of the Alaska land surveyors' society (ASPLS) and also served as a national surveyor's test reviewer.
His family wrote: "Ken was passionate about his profession, but in his private life, his equally great passion was family and pets. He raised six children and a dozen or more cats and dogs in Wasilla over the years. When Ken was 9, his father died suddenly and Ken became the 'man of the family,' assuming responsibility from that young age for his mother and two sisters."
Ken was preceded in death by his mother; special uncle, Clyde Sherman; and brothers-in-law, Rick Boudreau and Bill Leeper.
Survivors are his sisters, Carol Boudreau (Mike Burt) and Jeanne Leeper and their children and grandchildren of Washington state; aunts, Norma Sherman and Margene Ryan and special cousins Mary, Jerry, Linda and Irene (Sherman); his wife of 22 years, Ruth; and his children and their families: Susan Guerri of Huntington, Ore., Kiska Cureton (Wesley) of Long Beach, Calif., Karen DeCamp of Boise, Idaho, Ken DeCamp Jr. (Karla) of Wasilla, Kelly Thaler (Eric) of Wasilla and Patrick DeCamp of Palmer; grandchildren, Mandy, Cierra, Kaela, Kyle and Nolan; and his former wife, Olga Swetzof.
"Ken succumbed after a long and progressively debilitating illness that spanned 10 years, but he lived through his illness as he lived the rest of his life: with spirit, loyalty, gusto, honesty, integrity and unwavering character," his family wrote. "Ken's wife, Ruth, devoted the last 18 months to caring for him at home. Mat-Su hospice served him during his last three months, allowing him to die with dignity in his own home as he wished. He had the privilege of spending his last week joyfully participating in the celebration of his own life with his aforementioned children: Susan, Kiska, Kelly, Kenny, Karen, Karla, Eric, friend Sandy McGill and wife Ruth."
In accordance with his wishes, no funeral is planned. Ken will be buried in a private service at Wasilla's Aurora cemetery arranged through Alaskan Heritage Memorial Chapel. Pallbearers will include son Ken DeCamp, Jr., son-in-law, Eric Thaler, and friends, John Howe, Paul Minnick, John Riggs, Ken Gittlein, Greg Berg and Vic Kohring.
"Ken had long-term friends too numerous to list, but he would want his family to thank them all for their friendship and loyalty through the years," his family also wrote. In that spirit, the family invites Ken's friends to join them for a reception and celebration of friendship and life from 2 to 5 p.m. Dec. 23 at Evangelo's Restaurant in Wasilla.