Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Kenneth L. Phelps, USAF
January 12, 1941 – November 15, 2017
Ypsilanti – Kenneth L. Phelps was born to Lawrence and Margaret Phelps in 1941 in Mayville, Michigan where he grew up on his grandparents’ farm. The eldest of eleven brothers and sisters, he loved the farm work and was a big help to his Dad, learning many agricultural skills at a young age.
In high school he joined Future Farmers of America, where he received awards for raising hogs and growing the best FFA corn crop in the state. He also played center on the Mayville High Football Team for four years, during which time they remained undefeated.
After graduation he joined the Air Force in 1960 and served first as a Helicopter Mechanic and later as a B-52 Mechanic. His unit received a medal for their performance in Strategic Air Command during the Cuban missile crisis. Although never in combat in Vietnam, he had his own brush with death while on a usual routine helicopter flight out of his base in New Mexico. They were transporting a new engine to a downed chopper on the other side of a mountain range. While attempting to fly over the mountains, a strong updraft tipped the helicopter upside down and it crashed, killing both pilots and injuring Ken and the crew chief. Ken was strapped in but the new engine broke loose and landed on his leg. He spent four months in the hospital.
After an honorable discharge, he worked as a CNC Machinist for many years. He met his wife Lynne and they were married in 1986. Their happy marriage lasted for thirty-one years. They had a son named Ryan August of 1987.
When Ken retired he wrote and published a book titled How to Live and Farm without Electricity Made from Fossil Fuels. He also became an archery coach and a Judge who worked State and National Championship archery tournaments while traveling around the country with Ryan who was a competitive junior archer for several years who shot at the national level. Ken was a gentle giant of a family man, and a loving husband and father to Lynne and Ryan. He will be dearly missed and fondly remembered with all his family’s love forever.
In lieu of flowers or gifts we ask those who want to do something in remembrance to Ken, please send a donation to Disabled American Veterans, PO Box 14301, Cincinnati, Ohio 45250-0301; or www.dav.org. They helped him a lot with his VA benefits. www.muehligannarbor.com Muehlig Funeral Chapel
Published by Ann Arbor News from Nov. 16 to Nov. 19, 2017.
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