Funeral services for Kenneth Cordum, 79, of Gillespie, will be at First United Methodist Church, 900 West Broadway, Gillespie on Sunday, May 5. The family will receive friends and celebrate Ken’s life at from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. A service will be held at 3:30 p.m.
Ken passed away on Thursday, May 2 at his home after a lengthy struggle with vision problems, a rare form of cancer, and resultant heart disease. Throughout his physical challenges, Ken acted with good humor, stubborn independence, and optimism, recently preparing vegetable seeds for his extensive garden and planning a fish fry for his colleagues at the Gillespie food pantry.
Ken was born in Litchfield, Illinois, on June 11, 1939, to Clarence Henry Cordum and Kathryn L. (Callans) Cordum. His family lived in Macoupin County where his father Clarence operated a grocery business, which Ken eventually took over. He served in the Army National Guard.
He married Judith Schmutzler on February 5, 1966, in a specially built chapel in West Plains, Missouri, where she lived.
They settled in Gillespie where they raised their two children, Terry and Susan. The family spent many happy hours on their rural property where they maintained a productive orchard, raised exotic cattle, and fished and swam in their small lake.
Judy passed away on October 23, 2018, after her own valiant struggle with multiple forms of cancer.
Ken was well-known in the Gillespie area as a grocer, bank board member, investor in radio stations, and later insurance agent for Prudential. He and his family were active at Gillespie’s Zion Lutheran Church and later at First United Methodist Church, where he was an integral part of its monthly Harvest Feast. He also had a leadership role in the Gillespie Kiwanis Club and later the Community Service Club.
After retirement, Ken assumed an active leadership role with the Gillespie area food pantry, managing acquisition and distribution of food. He was also a member of the Area Agency on Aging. He stayed busy at home with his large vegetable garden and assisting his wife Judy with her landscaping and extensive perennial gardens.
Ken will be remembered for his humor, love of cooking, bartering, and bargaining, but most of all for his love of family. Together he and Judy were devoted to family and took great pride and pleasure in the company and accomplishments of their children, their spouses, and their grandchildren. He leaves children Terry Cordum (Shelly) of Alton, Illinois, and Susan (Pete) Stromsland of Gillespie. He was the devoted grandfather of Katie (Kathryn) Stromsland of Forest Park, Illinois, and Jason Stromsland of Key Largo, Florida. He also leaves behind a brother, Ronald (Carol) Cordum of Tiskilwa, IL. Ken was preceded in death by his parents, stepmother, Evelyn (Zelmer) Cordum, spouse, and sister Judith K. Wood.
Memorials may be made to the Caring Center, Gillespie First United Methodist Church, or charity of donor’s choice. Kravanya Funeral Homes is in charge of arrangements.