Kenneth Wayne Von Gonten
Kenneth Wayne Von Gonten went to be with his Lord and Savior on Feb. 4, 2024, surrounded by his family.
He was born on Nov. 1, 1956, to Henry and Margaret (Adams) Von Gonten.
Von Gonten He, his parents, and his sister Debby lived in Rockdale, where he grew up and graduated from Rockdale High School. He was affectionately known as “Kenny” to his family and hometown friends.
After high school, he attended Blinn College in Brenham, where he met and fell in love with Debra Weiss. They were married on June 25, 1978, at Eben-Ezer Lutheran Church in Brenham.
After Blinn, he continued his studies at Texas A&M where he earned his bachelors degree in agricultural education in 1980 and a master of education in 1987.
Ken and Debbie were blessed with two children, Deanna and Matthew, and later, son-inlaw Jake Sallee and daughter-inlaw Kristen (King) Von Gonten.
Ken loved being “Opa” to his four grandchildren—Judah and Joyanna Sallee and Lucienne and Charlie Von Gonten—who brought him great joy.
From his youth, Ken was strong in his faith. He and Debbie joined Miller Heights Baptist Church in Belton in 1980, where Ken served in many roles. These included Sunday school teacher, education director, deacon, and elder, as well as serving on many committees. His love of the Lord and everyone around him was evident to all those he met.
Ken had a passion for music and remembered singing as a child at the Salty Community Church near Rockdale. He wrote songs as he learned to play the guitar and entertained college friends and family with his music. He and Debbie enjoyed playing and singing songs for many years, always as a form of worship and praise to their Lord.
Ken cared deeply for others and was a kind soul. He used his humor to make others feel comfortable around him. He often used the excuse for his silly behavior as being due to his being an Aggie and having had brain surgery, both of which were true.
Much of his life was plagued with illness, having had multiple seizures, pneumonia and several bouts of cancer, to name a few. But Ken always took his health in stride, feeling blessed with the life he was given.
His career in ag education and career studies allowed Ken to help young students to choose and experience their own career paths. His leadership qualities were evidenced in his work and in his ministry.
After retirement, Ken began to expand his photography hobby, which he enjoyed so much. He used his talent as a photographer to preserve memories with family and friends, and he loved capturing scenes from God’s creation.
Ken is survived by his wife, Debbie; his parents, Henry and Margaret Von Gonten; his sister, Debby Rolan; children Deanna Sallee (and husband Jake), Matthew Von Gonten (and wife Kristen); his grandchildren; his mother-in-law, Edna Weiss; plus numerous brothers-in-law, sisters- in-law, nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father-in-law, Edwin Weiss; two nephews, Clinton Wilhelm and Cory Wayne Menges; and brother-in-law Bill Weiss.
A special thanks to all the doctors, nurses, and caregivers at BSW and BSW Hospice, and to all those who prayed for Ken and family along the way.
Visitation will be held on Friday, Feb. 9, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Broecker Funeral Home in Salado.
Celebration of life service will be held at Miller Heights Baptist Church in Belton on Saturday, Feb. 10, at 11 a.m. with Pastor Justin Childers officiating. Burial will follow at Salado Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to Miller Heights Baptist Church or the American Cancer Society.