Kenneth Lee English

Ken EnglishKenneth Lee English, 82, was born May 6, 1941, in Bemidji, Minnesota, to Lynn and Gladys English. He graduated from Bonners Ferry High School in 1959 and joined the US Army, as a paratrooper with the airborne forces, immediately after graduation.

Shortly after his return from the Army, he began a job with the Union Pacific Railroad, where he worked until his retirement in 2001. But the job that brought him the most satisfaction was being Fire Chief of the Moyie Springs Volunteer Fire Department. He served in that position for 47 years. His friends in the fire department, the City of Moyie, EMT, Police and Sheriff’s Departments were all his family. Thank you for allowing him to continue to serve right up until his passing.

He was also widely known for his love of falconry. He developed a love for helping birds, of all sizes, when he was in his early teens. As a licensed Falconer, he spent countless hours rehabilitating injured hawks, owls, eagles and more. He willingly brought his birds into the elementary school classrooms to share them with the kids whenever the opportunity arose. It was not uncommon to see him with a bird of some kind in a box in the cab of his truck on any given day. It was just who he was.

In 1965 Ken married Linda Jelinek, they had a son, Rich. In 1970 he married Linda Helgerson. Together they raised a son, Tim and a daughter, Tanja. They were married for nearly 30 years. In 2001 he married Kathleen Bertling, they were married until her death in 2018. His last remaining years were spent with his friend, Pam Hartman.

In the 82 years that Ken lived, he was so many things to so many people. He was a son, a brother, a veteran, a husband, a dad, an uncle, a firefighter, a falconer, and a friend. He will be greatly missed.

He is survived by his children, Tim (Stacey Walton) English, Tanja (Mike) Ferguson and Rich (Danna) Smith. His sister, Donna (Howard) Kent. His grandchildren Rebecca (Zack) Bradley, Ryan (Macie) Farrens, Christopher (Hailey) English, Kelsey (Sheldon Weston) English, Brenna (Cody) Anderson and Justin (Ciara Fitting) Smith. He is preceded in death by his parents, Lynn and Gladys English, and his wife, Kathleen English.

One thought on “Kenneth Lee English

  1. Ever since I moved to Bonners Ferry 27 years ago, Ken English has been my hero. I’m a lifelong birder and have always revered his dedication to the survival of injured raptors, in particular. I’ll never forget taking him an Osprey I found on the Kootenai at my favorite camping spot where the Yaak River empties in. It had been shot with an arrow through the ‘elbow’ of its wing. Ken shook his head very sadly because of the gravity of the injury, but he vowed to try and save him. Over the coming days, Ken nursed the bird, talked to it and encouraged it in every way. But, sadly, he called to tell me the Osprey had not survived. Soon after that, he was the local contact for the public to communicate with the Union Pacific Railroad after the North Hill landslide took the earth right out from under a long span of their tracks. As the most visible representative of Union Pacific, he was a comfort to Boundary County officials and residents. I feel blessed to have shared one last hug after speaking at length with him last year at the Saturday Market. I asked him how retirement was going, and he laughed and said he was the only one still alive of several who retired at the same time from the railroad. He said he owed his longevity to not stopping work totally by staying engaged with his work at Moyie Springs and with his bird rescue.

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