Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Kenneth C. Franzel, Lt. Colonel, USAF (Retired)May 8, 1937 – December 09, 2017
Kenneth C. Franzel 80, loved metal machining, woodworking, restoring antique tractors, cars.
Kenneth C. Franzel (Ken) made his last takeoff on Dec 9, 2017.
Son of the late Carl and Lois Franzel, Ken was born May 8, 1937, in Salida and grew up on the family ranch in Buena Vista. After graduation from Buena Vista High School in 1955, he attended Colorado State University, graduating in 1960 with a Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering and was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force.
Ken completed 21 years of service including overseas tours in Korea, Southeast Asia, Germany and Hawaii. He was a qualified jet and helicopter pilot with over 3,500 hours of flight time and also served as an engineer. During his career, he was awarded the Meritorious Service medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal, Air Force Commendation and the Combat Readiness medal. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.
Ken was married for 56 years to the love of his life, the former Grace Lukacher of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. He spent his retirement years back on the family ranch in Buena Vista, where he raised cattle, worked on remodeling the family home and pursued his passions of metal machining, woodworking and restoring antique tractors and cars. He also enjoyed traveling with his wife.
Ken is survived by his wife Grace; son Anthony and wife Trudi; son Ken and wife Jill; grandchildren Garret, Scott, Riley, Kate and Laura; and sisters Marie (Evans) and Jan (Sheesley).
A memorial service will be held at Runyan-Kent Funeral Home of Buena Vista on Dec. 27 at 11 a.m., with graveside service at Mount Olivet Cemetery and reception at the Franzel home afterwards.
Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society. Please visit www.kentfuneralhomes.com to leave a condolence or remembrance for the family.
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