Kenneth Cordum

Kenneth Cordum, 79, or Gillespie, passed away on Thursday, May 2, at his residence after a lengthy struggle with vision problems,  a rare form of cancer, and resultant heart disease.

Ken was born in Litchfield, Illinois, on June 11, 1939, to Clarence Henry Cordum and Kathryn L. (Callans) Cordum. He married Judith Schmutzler on February 5, 1966, in a 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.

Ken’s father Clarence operated a grocery business, which Ken eventually took over.  He also served in the Army National Guard. 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 was 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.

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 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.

Ken was preceded in death his wife Judy, after her own valiant struggle with multiple forms of cancer; parents; step mother, Evelyn (Zelmer) Cordum; spouse; and sister Judith K. Wood.  He is survived by children Terry Cordum (Shelly) of Alton, and Susan (Pete) Stromsland of Gillespie; grandchildren Katie (Kathryn) Stromsland of Forest Park, and Jason Stromsland of Key Largo, FL; and brother, Ronald (Carol) Cordum of Tiskilwa.

Funeral services were at First United Methodist Church in Gillespie on Sunday, May 5.

Memorials may be made to the Caring Center, Gillespie First United Methodist Church, or charity of donor’s choice.

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