William Kenneth Calhoun II

William Kenneth Calhoun II, 71, of Lawrence, formerly of Emporia, died of cancer in his home on October 9, 2015. Ken engaged in life through his wit, wisdom, banter, and challenging conversations. He was kind and caring. His hope was that the world would be a little better for his being in it because nothing else mattered. Above all, he believed people were more important than things. He lived his beliefs until his last moment.

Ken was born September 4, 1944, in Emporia, Kan., the son of William Gunn Calhoun and Dorothy Crain Calhoun. He attended elementary schools in Emporia, graduated from Culver Military Academy in Culver, Ind., and received a BS in Business from The University of Kansas in 1966. While at The University of Kansas, he was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity and a member of the competitive intramural volleyball team.

He married Judith Elaine Cartright of Iola, Kan. on October 16, 1964. Ken is survived by his wife, Judith; his two daughters, Stephani Calhoun Davis of Greenwood Village, Colo. and Melissa Calhoun Sottoway (Doug) of Portland, Ore.; four grandchildren, Madeleine Anne Davis, Kansas City, Mo., Caroline Calhoun Davis, Lawrence and Greenwood Village, Nolan Gunn Sottoway and Laci Cartright Sottoway of Portland.

Other survivors include two sisters: Carol Wood (Bill) of Rockville, Md. and Kay Mehrer of Stilwell, Kan.; his sister-in-law, Nancy Watts (Lee) of Carlsbad, N.M. and his loved cousins, nieces, and nephews.

After graduating from The University of Kansas, he worked for the Target Stores in Minneapolis, Minn. He then returned to Emporia to join the family-owned business, Newman’s Department Store, from 1968-1998, and continued as Secretary and President of Newman’s Inc. until 2011. He was Firm Administrator at the accounting firm of Pool & Wright from 1999-2006. He joined the Emporia Community Foundation as CEO and Secretary in 2000, retiring in 2013.

While living in Emporia, Ken had roles in numerous organizations, boards, and community efforts. He was involved in the United Way from 1973-1987, serving as Chair of the Budget Committee (1973-1977), President, Drive Chairman, Steering Committee, and Steering Committee Chair. He served as a Chamber of Commerce Director from 1974-1977 and 1996-1997, and Vice President in 1977. He was an advocate of Mainstreet and BID efforts, serving as a Board Member and President. As Project Pride Chair, he developed and raised money for street landscaping, and he developed and raised money for the White Park. He was a member of Emporia Enterprises (now Regional Development Agency) during the acquisition and development of Park III in Emporia.

Ken served on the Citizen’s National Bank Board and successor banks from 1974-1999 and on the Jones Trust Board from 1974-2006. For the Jones Foundation, he held the positions of Secretary from 1974-1994 and President from 1994-2006. He was a Director for the Newman Regional Health Foundation from 1968-1976, 1993-1996, and 2010-2013, holding the office of President in 1975-1976 and 1996-2012. He was a member of the Calhoun Foundation, serving as Secretary from 1969-1999 and President from 1999 until 2012 when it became the Calhoun Family Fund with the Emporia Community Foundation.

Ken was a member of the Emporia Country Club, served three full terms on the club board, and was President in 1974, 1998, and 2012. For the Kahola Homeowner’s Association, he served four full terms as a Director and was Treasurer from 1987-2011. During that time, he oversaw the formation of both cabin and homeowner’s associations. He was a member of the Emporia State University President’s Advisory Council from 1998-2012.

He was recognized as Man of the Week by the Emporia Gazette in 1971 and received the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce.

In Lawrence, he joined the Lawrence Arts Center and the New Generation Society. He was an active member of the men’s golf community at Alvamar Country Club and of a coffee group at J&S Coffee Company. He closely followed Kansas University and Emporia State University volleyball and basketball teams. He served as Finance Committee Chair of the Bella Sera Community Association.

He left a legacy of accomplishments, yet his greatest gift was leaving a lifetime of memories for his family and friends. Memorials in his honor may be sent to the Emporia Community Foundation, 527 Commercial, Suite 501, Emporia, KS 66801 and designated for the Heather Stewart Endowment Fund for Camp Wood student scholarships or for the Fund for the Future Endowment.

Memorials also may be sent to The Culver Educational Foundation at 1300 Academy Road 18, Culver, IN 46511.

Services will be held in Trinity Episcopal Church, 1011 Vermont Street, Lawrence, KS on Sunday, October 18, 2015 at 1:30 p.m., with a celebration to follow.

Online condolences may be made at rumsey-yost.com.