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  • Writer's pictureJim Ratti, '82

Ken Coon - GBNF Update

6 May 2021

On 1 May I sent out an e-mail to our class mailing list announcing the passing of Kenneth (Ken) Coon. He died on 22 April 2021.

Since then I've heard from Ken's Wife, Deby, who passed along some more details.

First, the AOG's announcement (and therefore mine as well...) miscommunicated Ken's rank. He retired as a Colonel, not a Lt Col. Additionally, Deby let me know that Ken died of sporadic papillary type 2 renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer). Ken’s illness was a short 10 months. He went to the doctor because he was having headaches due to elevated blood pressure, unusual for him as a runner. After several tests and CT scans, doctors determined that he had a rare form of kidney cancer that was already stage 4 and had metastasized to his lungs. His type of cancer had zero treatment so they used treatment that they would use on common forms of renal cell cancer.

Deby mentioned that there is some speculation that exposure to PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) during his flying career may have played a role in causing the cancer, and that the VA is doing research along those lines. If you'd like to learn more about what the VA is doing, Deby provided this link.

A funeral service will be held on 8 May 2021 at 1030 hours at Countryside Baptist Church; 2124 S Western Rd; Stillwater, OK 74074; (405) 372-2023. The service will be live streamed from his obituary on the Strode Funeral Home website. Click on the “Photos and Videos” link under his picture for the live stream link. Deby also provided this link to the memorial service. She mentioned that the church does not have the ability to livestream the portion of the ceremony conducted outdoors (military honors). She's making arrangements to have that recorded separately and will provide a link to it at a later date.

Deby suggested that memorial donations be made in lieu of flowers to the Taysia Blue Rescue for Siberian Huskies and Malamutes or the Fisher House Foundation. You can send a check to either charity in care of the Strode Funeral Home; 610 S Duncan St; Stillwater, OK 74074.

Condolences may be left online, or they may be sent to his family in care of his wife, Deby:

Mrs. Deby Coon 3604 S Persimmon St. Stillwater, OK 74074-1191

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