Kenneth Alan Kirchner, of Lakeland, Florida passed away at home on March 14, 2022. He fought a long, courageous battle with congestive heart failure.

Ken was born to Oscar and Edna (Stork) Kirchner on October 10, 1936 in Elmhurst, Illinois. He was the eighth of ten children. As a boy he was both tenacious and joyful. The childhood he shared with his siblings and parents was idyllic. They did not have much money, but their home was full of love, laughter and more than a fair share of brotherly mischief. The whole family vacationed summers in Michigan, staying with their cherished Aunt Huldah. The Kirchner kids spent hours building sand castles and frolicking in the chilly waters of Lake Michigan. He was ever that mischievous little boy at heart. Ken was fiercely passionate about his family and everyone that crossed his path.

Ken met his future wife, Lorraine Schloss, on a blind date. Their first “real” date was at Wrigley Field for a Chicago Cubs double header, fireworks and all. It was July 4th, 1960. They married three months later and shortly after Ken was drafted into the US Army. His daughter Linda was born while he was still active military. After 2 years he was honorably discharged and he returned home to Lorraine and Linda. Little Kenny was born within a few years to complete their family. Ken always put his family first, he was a dedicated, loving, and fun-loving father. He loved playing all kinds of games with Lorraine and the kids, and whomever else was around. He was extremely proud of both of his children. His daughter Linda went on to pursue a career as a college graphic design instructor and his son Kenny as an EMT Firefighter.

Forever a kid at heart, Ken was outgoing with a joy for living and an intense love of life. His comical sense of humor was well known by all who knew and loved him. When spending time with him one was sure to create unforgettable memories as his personality was one of unbelievable fun and kindness. You would never leave a visit with him without at least one, and often several, deep belly laughs.

Ken had a very successful career in sales. He worked for Northern Illinois Gas Company, Charmglow, Ding Butler Distributors, and finally Citrus Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Dade City, Florida. He was awarded the Daimler Chrysler (Dodge) Gold and Diamond Sales Ring, annually given to the top salesman in the country. He was truly born for sales.

Ken was an avid, passionate sports enthusiast and he attended countless hockey, baseball, basketball and football games. He spent many days during retirement at local Florida theme parks and being supportive of his wife Lorraine, his children, grandchildren and the latest light of his life, his great granddaughter, Sutton Jae.

Ken was preceded in death by his parents, Oscar and Edna, his siblings Virginia (Earnest) Oetjens, Robert (Viola) Burke, Donna (Robert) Becker, Thomas, Sally, and 8 nieces and nephews.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 61 years, Lorraine Kirchner, his cherished children, Linda Bourne and Kenny Kirchner, adored grandchildren Kyle Bourne, Eric Bourne, Kayla (Calvin) Hatcher, Josh Kirchner, Micah Kirchner and his precious great granddaughter, Sutton Jae Hatcher. He also leaves behind his siblings, Richard (Diane) Kirchner, Patricia Kubera, Barbara (Robert) Shaw and brother and closest friend, Earl (Patricia) Kirchner, 30 nieces and nephews, many great and great-great nieces and nephews, all of whom Ken lovingly referred to as “Toad”. He is also survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Norman and Dawn Schloss, son in law, Vince Bourne, daughter in law, Lisa Lloyd, the Richard Shaw family, and his many friends.

The family will hold a Celebration of Ken’s Life at a future date, yet to be determined. To the generations who follow, Ken will always be remembered as a larger-than-life big warm teddy bear. “You will be missed by all of us fortunate enough to have known you, Daddy. Rest in Peace. Skymer.” -Linda Kirchner Bourne

Condolences may be sent to the family at Gentry-Morrison Funeral Homes.

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