Ken Price of Corvallis passed away on December 22, 2020 following a 2-year battle with cancer. Ken was born on May 8, 1942 in Laurel, Montana to Oren and Anna (Halverson) Price, joining his protective older sisters, Patricia and Orene. He spent his boyhood bird hunting and fishing on the Yellowstone River with his dog Rodney. He graduated from Laurel High School in 1960 and entered the US Navy that fall. He served for nearly 4 years as a medic attached to the Marines, located in Okinawa and Hawaii. He loved the time he spent on the beach learning to body surf.
He enrolled at the University of Montana in the fall of 1964, where he studied business management and economics. He worked his way through school, fighting fire, working for the railroad and his favorite job, tending bar at the Florence Hotel. In 1967 he met nursing student Sandra Williamson and was instantly smitten. They were married on July 5, 1969 and spent the first part of their marriage in Missoula. Shortly after, he acquired his first Chesapeake Bay Retriever and fell in love with the breed. He had six Chessies in all, and left Monte behind to keep Sandy company.
After Ken graduated, they moved to Juneau where Ken took a job as Chief Economist with the State of Alaska and became, according to his department director, "the expert in the state on economic data, its sources, interpretation and usage." While in Alaska, Ken and Sandy expanded their family to include son Timothy and daughter Jill. Ken loved fishing in the bays and channels around Juneau, especially for king salmon.
Ken and Sandy returned to their native Montana in 1978. Ken worked with Sandy's parents at Hamilton Motor Supply for a time, but was still dreaming about fishing in Alaska. He spent several months building a 26 foot fishing boat, a skill he taught himself. Ultimately, the "Kendra" only made it to the ocean once before Ken turned his attention to a new pursuit--building greenhouses.
In the summer of 1982, Ken built a solar-design greenhouse in the backyard and K&S Greenhouse was born. He grew hydroponic tomatoes which he wholesaled to local grocery stores and also sold at farmers markets in Missoula and Hamilton. Daughter Gale arrived shortly after and grew up among the tomato plants.
Working at home allowed Ken to be a very involved parent. Sandy's work schedule at the hospital often meant that Ken was the one packing lunches, putting in ponytails, and doing the nightly tuck into bed. He never missed any of his kids' activities, athletic or otherwise, and enjoyed doing the same for his grandkids. Ken loved sports and was a lifelong Griz fan. He was especially proud of the fact that all 3 of his kids earned degrees from UM.
After 15 years of working in the backyard, Ken moved K&S Greenhouse to its current site on Black Lane in 1999. The business quickly shifted from a produce operation to the garden center that it is today. Gale purchased the business from her parents in 2016, which allowed Ken and Sandy to retire. During retirement, Ken enjoyed traveling with Sandy in their RV, making trips as far as the East Coast and Alaska. Their final trip, to celebrate their 50th anniversary, was to Australia to visit Sandy's brother and sister-in-law.
Ken was never afraid to jump into a project, even if he had never done it before. He was quite adept at teaching himself new skills, including horticulture, carpentry, plumbing, electrical, and more. Ken's knowledge, wisdom, wit and dry sense of humor will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Ken is survived by his wife Sandy Price of Corvallis, son Tim (Lynde) Price of Kalispell, daughter Jill (Jeff) Tripp of Missoula, and daughter Gale (Dave Van) Price of Corvallis, as well as grandkids Weston, Brock, Aubrey, Spencer, Claire, Brody, Paige and Landry. He is also survived by his sister Orene LaFortune of Massachusetts, brother-in-law Don (Glenda) Williamson of Hamilton, sister-in-law Carla Williamson of Hamilton, and brother in law Dennis (Ursula) Williamson of Melbourne, Australia. He also had numerous nieces and nephews who were very special to him. Ken was predeceased by his parents, his father- and mother-in-law Loyal and Ruby Williamson, his sister Pat Sheldon, and brothers-in-law Jerry Sheldon, Edward LaFortune and LaRoy Williamson.
The family will hold a celebration of Ken's life when COVID is under better control, hopefully next summer.
Ken would be honored if memorials were made to Marcus Daly Hospice or a local charity of your choice.
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