Kenneth Forsyth, 79, passed away early Saturday morning, Feb. 2, 2019, at Brighton Gardens in Prairie Village, Kansas.
Visitation will be 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, at Countryside United Methodist Church, 3221 SW Burlingame Road, Topeka, Kansas.
The funeral service will be 3 p.m. at Countryside immediately following visitation.
Kenneth was born Sept. 9, 1939, to Allen and Bessie Forsyth in Howard, Kansas.
Ken attended Howard schools and graduated from Howard High School in 1957. He graduated from Southwestern College with a bachelor’s degree in music.
While completing his master’s degree in music education at Wichita State University, Ken met his partner in music and life, Joanne Rackley. They married in 1971, and Ken happily adopted Joanne’s three children, Patti, John, and Deana shortly after.
In 1974, Matthew Kent was born. With his new family, Ken began a 43-year career in Kansas music education, sharing his love of music with students in Leon, Howard, Columbus, Marion, Salina, Wichita North, and Washburn rural public schools, with college and university stints at Friends University, McPherson College, and Southwestern College.
Over the years, he received the KMEA Outstanding Choral Director of the Year, KCDA Harry Robert Wilson Award, and was inducted into the Southwestern College Educators Hall of Fame, Washburn Rural High School Hall of Fame, and the KMEA Hall of Fame.
Ken — with Joanne, always a package deal — led the music programs in various churches, including UMC Marion, UMC Salina, UMC Winfield, FBC of Wichita, and Countryside UMC.
Through youth and adult choir trips, choir retreats, scavenger hunts, and choir parties, Ken and Joanne were always finding new ways to minister and share God’s love through music. Every stop left an eternal imprint, forever impacting the people and places they had been.
Ken is survived by four children: Patti and husband, Tom Thomas, John and wife, Deborah Forsyth, Deana and husband, Don Mason, and Matt Forsyth; eight grandchildren: Joel and wife, Megan, Leann and husband, Phillip, Katie, Rebecca, Joy and husband, Robert, Reid and wife, Ana, Abbie and husband, Andrew, and Dashel; seven great-grandchildren: Rylee, Clayton, Kollin, Wesley, Grace, Malia, Baby J; brothers and sisters: Paula Henry, Don and wife, Dianna, Forsyth, and Charles and wife, Jodie, Forsyth; and many nieces, nephews and friends.
Ken spent his life giving to others. He gave his love and attention to anyone who needed it. He gave the gift of music to hundreds upon hundreds from child to adult.
He loved meeting new people and everyone he met was affected forever by his presence. He was a humble and compassionate man. He would have been the first to tell you that he was just one of many influences in other’s lives.
However, through the outpouring of sympathy and memories we have received, it is obvious his presence was a catalyst for greatness and a shining example of living a life of service and love.
He was the perfect representation of God’s power to change the world through one individual. His life will live on through each kind word given and each beautiful note sung or played by those who were lucky enough to meet him.
The family suggests donations in Ken’s name to Countryside United Methodist Church, Topeka, or to the Kenneth A Forsyth Memorial Scholarship at Washburn Rural High School, Topeka, Kansas.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by Dove Cremations and Funerals, Southeast Chapel, Topeka, Kansas. For more information, contact the funeral home at (785) 266-6700 or leave the family a special message online at www.DoveTopeka.com. Cleta Richmond