Kenneth Allen Bade, 92, of Kankakee, passed away Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018, at Presence Merkle-Knipprath Countryside.
He was born Jan. 26, 1926, in Union, Mo., to Steve Quintin Bade and Irma Eads Bade.
Kenneth had an interest in music at an early age. His mother and father were both members of choruses, and his mother was a pianist. He began taking piano lessons from his neighbor at the age of 11. Kenneth also played the clarinet in high school.
In 1945, Kenneth began his college education at Olivet Nazarene College (University) in Bourbonnais. He began his career in music with a double major in piano and organ. In 1949, Kenneth graduated from Olivet with a Bachelor of Arts in music and was recognized with cum laude honors. After graduation, Kenneth was offered the position of head of the organ department where he taught piano and theory and directed the Apollo Choir. While teaching full time, Kenneth attended the University of Illinois to begin working on his master’s degree in organ. In 1954, Kenneth received his Master of Arts in music and was the first organist to appear with the University of Illinois Symphony Orchestra. While on the music staff at Olivet, Kenneth served as organist at College Church of the Nazarene.
He continued his career as organist-choir director at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and First Methodist (Asbury United Methodist) Church. During his 37½ years as music director at the Methodist Church, Ken designed the large pipe organ and directed the Junior Choir, Wesley Choir, Chancel Choir and two Bell Choirs. In 1977, he was consecrated as diaconal minister and taught an adult Sunday school class for many years. He continued spreading his gift of music to another congregation as organist-choir director at Central Christian Church for a number of years. His love for teaching was ever present as he taught and inspired numerous piano and organ students throughout his life.
Ken also was instrumental in forming the local chapter of the American Guild of Organists in 1966. Ken’s civic interests reached from serving as president of the Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra Board to creating and serving as chairman of the annual Young Artists Piano Competition, which enabled American and international students to pursue their careers in music. He, additionally, helped to initiate the now-traditional July 4th Pops Concert presented at Kankakee Community College. He was an active member of Kiwanis.
Ken Bade’s exceptional musical skills were certainly a God-given talent, and they will be missed by all who knew him and the community at large.
Surviving are one niece, Dana (Eugene) Ramirez-Maze, of California; and two nephews, Michael and Douglas Crites.
He was preceded in death by his parents; one sister, Jean Tucker; and his good friend, Daniel Liddell.
“A special thank you to Pete and Nancy Peterson for all the loving care they provided to Kenneth,” friends and family said.
Visitation was held Sept. 24 with the funeral service following at Asbury United Methodist Church in Kankakee. Burial was in Kankakee Memorial Gardens in Aroma Township.
Memorials may be made to the Olivet Music Department and the organ fund at Asbury United Methodist Church.
Please sign his guestbook at schrefflerfuneralhomes.com.