Kenneth Hite, 85 of rural Lawson, MO passed away Easter Sunday April 21,2019 at the Excelsior Springs Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Kenneth born December 17,1933 at home on Long Island Kingsport, Tennessee. He was an only child preceded in death by his father Perry Sylvester Hite and mother Opal Lillian McNew and grandson Steven Ralph Gray II.
In August of 1950 by fibbing about his age enlisted into the United States Air force. After basic training at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, TX and infantry training at Fort Hood, TX, Kenneth was then sent to RAF Bentwatters, England with the U.S Air Force in Europe. After this tour was up, he was sent to build aircraft hangers on a new Air Force base named McConnell in Wichita, KS.
With a weekend pass Kenneth along with another airman, made their way to Newkirk, OK. While there they attended a dance hall across from the local high school. During the evening dances asked a beautiful young lady to dance. Freda Jane Martin became the love of his life and they married September 5, 1953 at her parent’s [ Raymond & Marie Martin] farm home. They enjoyed 65 years of marriage.
In 1963 Kenneth was stationed again at Lackland AFB however, this time as an Air Training Command Instructor in combat arms or Red Hat. He there became a part of the Air Forces high power and smallbore rifle teams. Earning over 183 medals and trophies until his retirement in August of 1972. His greatest achievement was earning the Air Force Bronze "Excellence in Competition" service medal in 1967 at the national rifle matches at Camp Perry, Ohio. Col. David L. Willett Commander 835th combat support group McConnell AFB pinned the honor to SSgt Hite in 1968.
Do to his marksmanship abilities SSgt Hite was given orders to serve in Da Nang, Vietnam attached to the 1 Marines, 2 Recon, Special Operations Group from July 1969 to July 1970. While there earning the Air Force Commendation Medal additionally to the American Defense, Vietnam Service and Vietnam Campaign medals.
After retirement Kenneth became an Innkeeper for Holiday Inn International and traveled the Midwest for several years. Later he worked as a carpenter as he and his wife would travel the country in their motor home enjoying life and many friends. Kenneth loved deep sea fishing and big game hunting along the way within his travels. Finally spending 17 years in Rockport, TX area until moving to Lawson, MO.
Survivors include wife Freda J. Hite of Lawson, son Barney Hite (Sheryl) Lawson, daughter Brenda Gray (Steve) Bryce City, NC, Grandchildren; Barney K. Hite (Kellie) Richmond, Chase Hite (Kathy) Liberty, Chris Hite (Whitney) Liberty, Mathew Gray Spartanburg, SC, Jasmine Gray Spartanburg, SC and 13 great- grand kids.
In Lieu of flowers, Kenneth would have preferred donations be made to his old VFW Post 8967, P.O. Box 1447, Port Aransas, Texas, 78373, Building Fund in his memory. The post was destroyed by the hurricane that hit the gulf coast last year.
Graveside military honors are at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, April 27, at the Maple City Cemetery, KS. The family will greet friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, April 26 at the Shelley Family Funeral Home of Arkansas City, KS.