Darold O. Ukena, 91, died Sunday morning, June 29, 2014 at The Good Shepherd Hospice House in Manhattan. He was a lifelong resident of the Manhattan area.
The family provided some of the following information.
Darold was born in Greenleaf on June 7, 1923. He was the son of Gerhardt and Emma (Wiechmann) Ukena.
In 1937, Darold moved with his family to Manhattan, where he attended College Hill School, and graduated from Manhattan High School in 1941. He was a 4-H member for 10 years.
He worked on the family-operated dairy farm and at the KSU dairy barn until 1944.
He then entered the United States Army and served in World War II in the Southwest Pacific Theater with the 158th Infantry Regimental Combat Team known as the “Bushmasters.”
He engaged in front line battle in the jungles on Luzon, Lagaspi Bay area of the Philippine Islands. He also served as part of the occupation forces in the Yokohama area of Japan until his discharge from the Army and his return to the Manhattan area in August of 1946. He was a member of the American Legion, Post No. 17.
He was united in marriage to Betty M. Hedman on May 2, 1948. Darold and Betty celebrated 65 years of marriage in 2013.
Upon his return from military service, Darold worked at Farrell’s Sinclair Service Station.
While employed there, he was selected “Mr. Friendly of Manhattan” by the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce.
Darold entered the automotive business in 1951, and worked as Parts Manager for Studebaker-Packard and Lincoln Mercury dealerships for many years. He then worked for C&M Motors until he retired.
Darold made many friends during his time in the business, and was known for his jovial personality, friendliness and expertise in the knowledge of vehicles.
In retirement, Darold and Betty moved from Manhattan to rural Wamego, where he enjoyed “country living.”
He particularly enjoyed gardening, fishing and observing the native wildlife. He had a unique skill of mimicking the sounds of songbirds, owls and other wildlife.
They moved back to Manhattan in October 2010.
Darold was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod and was a member at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church.
Darold was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Betty; his parents; and a brother, Marvin.
He is survived by two children: a son, Donald and wife, Brooke, of Wamego, and a daughter, Karen Zernickow and husband, Kent, of Lenexa. Five grandchildren also survive, Matthew Ukena of Albuquerque, N.M, Sharon Ukena and fiancé, Michael Mendoza, of Albuquerque, N.M., Robert Zernickow of Lawrence, Richard Zernickow and wife, Landen, of Millbrae, Calif., and Daniel Zernickow of San Francisco. One brother, Lyle and wife, Colleen, of Tacoma, Wash., also survive, along with many nieces and nephews.
Funeral Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, July 7, at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, 330 Sunset Avenue, in Manhattan, with Rev. Michael Schmidt officiating. Interment will follow in the Sunrise Cemetery in Manhattan. Visitation will precede the service from 10 to 11 a.m. at the church.
The family suggests memorial contributions to St. Luke’s Lutheran Church Children’s Ministries or The Good Shepherd Hospice House of Manhattan, Kansas.
Contributions may be left in care of the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan, Kansas 66502.