Funeral Services for Kenneth L. Reiner, age 79, of Chambers, NE, will be 10:30 AM Saturday, September 16, 2017, at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Chambers, NE.
Burial will follow in the Chambers Cemetery.
Visitation will be 5-8 PM Friday, September 15, 2017, with a Prayer Service at 7PM, at Biglin’s Mortuary in O’Neill.
Ken passed away on Thursday, September 7, 2017, at Faith Regional Hospital in Norfolk.
Memorials may be given to: Mission Central, 40718 Hwy E18, Mapleton IA, 51034-7105 attn: Gary Thies or to St. Paul Lutheran Church.
Biglin's Mortuary in O'Neill is in charge of arrangements.
Kenneth “Ken” L. Reiner was born 22 August 1938 in New Salem, North Dakota to Fred and Frieda (Bauer) Reiner. He was baptized as an infant and confirmed into the Lutheran Faith as a teenager. Ken graduated from High School in Zap, North Dakota, and attended Concordia College, St. Paul Minnesota for two years before transferring to Concordia College, Seward, NE where he earned a Bachelor’s in Education and a Lutheran Teachers Certificate in 1960. He later earned a Master’s in Education Psychology and Administration from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
Ken’s first call as a Lutheran teacher was as a missionary in Nigeria, West Africa. This call led to service in that country for twenty nine years in various positions, including: teaching at in the Lutheran High School in Obot Idim and Hillcrest (an international Christian school) in Jos; serving as the Principal and Headmaster at Hillcrest; and as the Field Chairman of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Nigeria. Returning from the mission field in 1989, Ken served for the next twenty three years at the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod Synodical Headquarters in St. Louis as “Counselor for Personnel.” Ken described his position as taking care of missionaries around the world. This position provided him many opportunities to use his experiences gained in Africa for the good of the next generation of Lutheran missionaries. He officially retired from his focus on missions in 2012, and moved to Chambers, NE to help care for family; however, until the time of his death he continued to be involved in his passions of caring for and watching out for Missionary Kids when they came back to the US for post-secondary school and for Foreign Seminary Students studying at Lutheran Seminaries. His time in missions can best be described by a simple sign, hung anonymously on his cube in St. Louis at the time of his retirement that said, “A true Servant of Christ lived here.”
Ken was united in marriage to Darlene Harley on 7 August 1960 at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Chambers. As a young 19 year old she left the safety and security of the Unites States and went with Ken to Africa, joining him in his service to the Lord. They were blessed with three children, Luke, Sharon and David and focused on raising them to be God fearing citizens and servant leaders.
Ken will be remembered as a humble, kind, loving, compassionate and generous man who was at peace with the world. He remained ever flexible, helped when help was needed and delighted in finding ways to serve, most often behind the scenes and without recognition. He remained active in the Church, and took great joy in leading Bible Study and being part of the church family. He was always ready to witness to others about his faith in Jesus. His favorite hobby was gardening, both vegetables and flowers, and he loved to spend time making plants grow and watching them bloom.
One of his favorite bible verses was Isaiah 40: 29-31; which hung on a banner in his office and reminded him daily of one of God’s promises. “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall. But those that hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Ken is survived by his wife of 57 years Darlene (Harley) of Chambers, his sons Luke (Devonna) of Cheyenne, WY and David (Tracy) of Burwell, NE and his daughter Sharon (Jon) Oetting of Sparks, NV and his grandchildren: Holly (Luke) Flanscha stationed at Ft. Polk, LA; Heather (Ken) O’Donnell of Cheyenne, WY; Rachael (Evan) Balleweg of Lincoln, NE; Joel (Jessica) Oetting of Knoxville, TN; Anna Oetting of Sparks, NV; and Tressa Reiner of Burwell, NE. Also surviving are his brothers Myron (Kitty) of Corinth, TX; Don (Marilyn) of Bismarck, ND; Tim (Pat) of Devils Lake, ND; cousin, classmate and lifelong friend Darold (Janell) Reiner of Kalispell, MT; other cousins, aunts and uncles; and the group of fellow missionaries with whom he served.
He was preceded in death by his parents and an infant sister.