Kenneth “Ken” Conrad Elverum, 76, passed away from pancreatic cancer on Nov. 17, 2022 surrounded by his family. He was born on March 22, 1946 in Spokane WA, to Conrad Albert Elverum (Sioux Falls, IA) and Jeanne Helen Hovden (Fargo, ND). Ken was baptized at Fort George Wright where his father was stationed with the Army during WWII. He was raised in Minneapolis, MN; Watertown, SD; and finally, Seattle, WA.
Ken graduated high school in 1964, in the first graduating class from Shorecrest High School with his lifelong friends John Chambers, Mike Gaston and Rod Coatney. He then attended the University of Washington, graduating with a BA in History in 1968 and was commissioned from the ROTC program as a 2LT in the US Air Force. During his time in the ROTC program Ken made many devoted friends, including lifelong pals John Steinnes & Roland Yoshida, and several others who visited him in his final months. Dad remained a rabid Husky fan his entire life and especially enjoyed the 37-34 win over rival Oregon on Nov. 12, 2022.
Upon commissioning he entered active-duty and attended the Air Force Intelligence School. From there he was assigned to the PhuCat Air Base in South Vietnam in 1969 where he met lifelong friends Wayne Fawbush and Jeff Hage. He was later assigned to air bases in Japan and Taiwan and once got a ride in the back seat of an F4 fighter-jet on a combat mission.
After completing four years of active-duty Ken returned to the University of Washington and received his master’s degree in 1977 in East Asian Studies. He supported himself throughout undergraduate and graduate school as a commercial salmon fisherman in southeast Alaska, completing eight seasons on purse seiner salmon boats out of Seattle.
In 1979 he went to work for the Oregon legislature on the House Elections Committee and later worked as the Director of the Legislative Research Division. In 1987 Ken moved his family to Carson City, NV to take a position with the Nevada Legislature. There he worked in the Research Division as he completed his teaching credentials through the University of Nevada Reno.
In 1992 Ken began his storied career as a 6th grade Social Studies teacher at Al Seeliger Elementary School in Carson City. A year later he moved to Eagle Valley Middle School where he taught with his pal Ted Matthews and enjoyed the next 18 years, retiring in 2010. In retirement he continued teaching for another six years as a reliable substitute for the school district. Through his teaching career Mr. Elverum coached over 30 separate 7th, 8th, and 9th grade boys’ and girls’ basketball teams. He also coached 5 track teams and 1 forlorn wrestling team. When asked about his record in the nearly 700 basketball games that he coached, Ken responded that he ‘just hoped they all had fun’. During his teaching career Mr. E effected the lives of nearly 3,000 students in the community that he dedicated his life to serving. In 2000 he was named the Carson City School District Teacher of the Year in recognition of his gift for making ancient history come alive for his restless sixth-grade students.
Ken met the love of his life, Kay Dopler (nee’), in 1980 while working for the Oregon Legislature. They married a year later in 1981, and together they shared nearly 41 years of marital bliss while raising three loving children (Patrick, Peter & Katie) and enjoying 10 rambunctious grandchildren (Jake, Owen, Molly-Mae, Emma, Elle, Luella, Calvin, Helen, Ida, & Percy). He is survived by his two brothers Jack and David and his sister Tony Beazley.
Ken Elverum was a kind and honest man who put those around him at ease. In his free time, he enjoyed backpacking, photography, umpiring baseball and road trips to our nation’s National Parks. He was a dedicated husband and father and an affable friend to all who knew him. We’re going to miss him immensely.
Ken will be laid to rest at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, WA on February 17th at 11:30 a.m. Funeral services will be held at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Carson City, NV on March 18th at 11:00 a.m. All are welcome at either service.