James C. ‘Jim’ Kenworthy

INDEPENDENCE — James C. “Jim” Kenworthy, 72, of Independence passed away peacefully at his home at 10:48 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, surrounded by his loving wife and wonderful caregivers. 

He was born Nov. 20, 1947, in Parsons to Jack William and Norma I. (Jones) Kenworthy, the seventh of 10 children. He grew up in Dennis, where he attended grade school and graduated from Labette County Community High School in Altamont in 1965.

Following graduation, he moved to Wichita, where he worked as a welder for a short time before moving to Tillamook, Oregon, where he married Susie Swetland in February 1966. The couple later divorced in 1997. In Tillamook, he worked in a saw mill and as a carpenter before moving to Salem, Oregon, to attend Chemeketa Community College to study building inspection technology and project management. Upon graduation Jim and his family settled in Carlton, Oregon. He worked as building official for the cities of Tualatin and Beaverton. Jim was Oregon chapter president of the Oregon Building Officials Association and served as OBOA state president in 1993-94. He also taught classes in building inspection technology and fire management at Chemeketa Community College. After Jim’s divorce, he moved to Klamath Falls, Oregon, and worked at the Klamath County Building Department and later became fire marshal for Klamath Fire District No. 1.

His favorite hobbies were fishing with his children and grandchildren in Klamath Lake, hunting with his son in the mountains in various northwestern states and golfing with his best friend, Rex Turner.

In 2013 he moved back to Kansas and has lived here since. After moving back to Kansas, he married his high school sweetheart, Merle Jean (Boss) King, on Aug. 24, 2015, in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Survivors include his wife, Merle Jean, of the home; a son, Michael Kenworthy (Lori) of Creswell, Oregon; two daughters, Tammy Schuck (Jim) of Creswell, Oregon, and Patty Sauers (Craig) of Yamhill, Oregon; three stepdaughters, LeAnn Hull (Dan) of Olathe, Gina Guidie (Jon) of Carthage, Missouri, and Nikki Adkison of Mound Valley; a brother, Melvin Kenworthy of Scranton; four sisters, Charlotte Sisseck of Yukon, Oklahoma, Peggy Cunningham (Bob), Bonnie Cunningham (John), all of Altamont, and Suzie Harper of Newton; a sister-in-law, Patsy (Lewis) Kenworthy of Mound Valley, the widow of Jack Kenworthy; 22 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. He was anxiously awaiting the arrival of four more great-grandchildren in 2020.

He was preceded in death by his parents; three brothers, Orville, Tony and Jack Kenworthy; a sister, Jeannie O’Neal; two brothers-in-law, Charles Sisseck and Don O’Neal; and a nephew, Zeke Kenworthy. 

The service will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Forbes-Hoffman Funeral Home in Parsons. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at the funeral home.

Memorials are suggested to the Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice or the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and may be left at or mailed to the funeral home, 405 Main St., P.O. Box 374, Parsons, KS 67357.

Online condolences may be left at www.forbeshoffman.com

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