Kenneth Wesley Fritts earned his wings, passed from this life into the next, and graduated into the loving arms of Jesus the evening of November 3, 2023, surrounded by his family and close friends in his home.
Ken (“K.W.”, as he was known) was born June 10, 1930 to Charles Earl Fritts and Ada Viola (Main) Fritts. He was born at home on a farm located eight miles west of Adrian, MO. He was the fifth of five children: Charles Alfred, Edward Lee, Viola Katherine, and Albert Perry. Kenneth attended Dixie Schoolhouse, a one-room elementary school, graduating in 1944 with a class of three students. He then attended Merwin and Amsterdam High School, graduating in 1948 with a class of eleven students. One of those students was Ruth Ann Stipp, who eventually became his beloved wife on July 11, 1952. Through all their 60 years together, Ken and Ruth had what most would call a story-book marriage. They had two children, Shelli Jean (Fritts) Ricci (surviving) and Monte Alan Fritts (preceding Kenneth in 2018), who would attest to anyone who asked them that they never heard their mom and dad have a single argument. Ken has been longing for Ruth – who he would always call his “better half” – since she passed in 2012, and now they can finally be together.
Kenneth served as a Dental Corpsman in the Navy during the Korean War, from October 1951 to September 1955. He then attended the University of Nebraska, receiving his Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree in June of 1962, and later receiving his Master of Science (MS) degree from the University of Iowa in June of 1969. Specializing in Restorative Dentistry, Kenneth taught at many universities, receiving many honors and distinctions from his students, administrators, and fellow staff. From 1985 to 1988 he taught at a dental college in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He continued to practice dentistry all throughout his career, and continued to practice proficiently until retiring in November 2017 at the age of 87.
Ken had many hobbies – almost too many to count. His dental career afforded him a great degree of manual dexterity, which he maintained throughout his old age. He built and tinkered with cars and engines of all sizes, crafted many detailed items from wood, and played with electronics. His only problem, he would say, was having the time to finish all his projects. Those that he did finish often were hand-made gifts that he would pass out at Christmas. He would often joke that they came from the “Island of Misfit Toys,” as he would often take parts from old forgotten toys to make his new creations.
Ken was loved by everyone who knew him, and he will be dearly missed by all. Ken had a deep faith in God, and knew His love. He reflected the amazing grace that he found in Jesus Christ to everyone that he met. Even at the end, his care workers would honestly comment about how special a patient that he was for them. It can truly be said for Kenneth:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)
Kenneth is survived by his daughter Shelli (Fritts) Ricci, his son-in-law Carlos Ricci, and his four grandchildren, DeAnna Ricci, Niccolas Ricci, Cristiana Ricci, and Antonio Ricci.
Ken, we will miss you greatly, but we rejoice in your reward, and look forward to when we can see you again in glory.
A Memorial Tree was planted for Kenneth
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Cremation Society Of Minnesota | Edina