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Kenneth Browning

BLOOMINGTON — Kenneth Browning, 72, of Bloomington, passed away at 2:15 p.m. Monday (April 17, 2017) at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center, Bloomington.

His celebration of life will be at noon Friday at Evelyn Chapel at Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, with the Rev. Vaughn Hoffman officiating. Visitation will be 10 a.m. to noon Friday at the church. Cremation rites have been accorded. Kibler-Brady-Ruestman Memorial Home, Bloomington, is assisting the family with arrangements.

Memorials may be made to Illinois Wesleyan University or Timber Pointe Charitable Foundation.

Ken was born May 28, 1944, in St. Louis, Mo., the only child of Arthur L. "Lyn" and Elsie Ethel Kimmel Browning. He married Jane Ann Stauss in 1968. They had two children, and later divorced. He has been happily married to Carol Williams Browning since 1989.

Surviving are his wife, Carol Browning, Bloomington; four children, Jennifer (Doug) Perry, Chelsea, Mich.; Kenneth Craig (Amanda) Browning Jr., Sunriver, Ore.; Kelly (Eric) Ekstam, Lake Bloomington; and Mindy (Scott) McCluskey, Normal; 11 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Ken was raised in Rolla, Mo., and graduated from Rolla High School in 1962. He was active in scouting, attaining the rank of Eagle Scout, received Vigil Honor in Order of the Arrow and served as lodge chief.

He graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., with a degree in aeronautics and astronautics in 1966, served as class president for three years, was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and received his master’s degree in management from MIT in 1968.

Ken spent his career in higher education because of his affection for young people and his desire to enhance their college experiences. He worked at MIT from 1968 to 1978 as associate dean for student affairs and at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, from 1978 to 1980, as vice provost. In 1981, he was business manager at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington and retired in 2004 as vice president for business and finance.  

He was most proud of his role in building much of the Illinois Wesleyan campus, including Evelyn Chapel, Shirk Center and athletic fields, the Ames Library, Hansen Center, Center for Natural Sciences, Central for Liberal Arts, Rust House, Sigma Chi house and gateways on Empire Street and Emerson Street as well as renovations to most other campus buildings.

Ken supported youth activities as a Boy Scout leader, a coach for Legion and Pony baseball, boys and girls soccer and served on committees for baseball and soccer. He was also an active member of the Timber Pointe Charitable Foundation.

Although Ken was raised an Episcopalian, he joined Second Presbyterian Church and, while active for only a short time, his life transformed for it was there that he met the love of his life, Carol.

Ken and Carol bought a cottage at Lake Bloomington in 1999 and moved there permanently a few years later. They were actively involved in the Lake Bloomington Association where Ken served as president for three years and undertook several other projects to serve the association and the lake community. They moved back to Bloomington in 2013.

He enjoyed activities with their 11 grandkids, golfing, sailing and canoeing, and was an avid fan of Illinois Wesleyan Titan basketball. Ken loved the outdoors and when his children were younger, he imbued them with this same love and skills through wilderness camping and canoeing, including a trip to the Boundary Waters.

Condolences and memories of Ken may be shared with the family at

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