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Jun 20, 2018
Kenneth Eugene Beenblossom, Retired Fire Chief of West Burlington, Passes
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By Chief Duane Hendrickson
July 24, 2017

Kenneth Eugene Beenblossom, 88, of West Burlington, died 11:00 a.m. Saturday, July 22, 2017 at Blair House Care and Rehabilitation.
Born on July 18, 1929 in Washington, IA, he was the son of D. Glenn and Blanche (Woodburn) Beenblossom. He married Viola "Vi" Hering on October 30, 1949 in Crawfordsville, Iowa.
Kenneth began his work career by driving a truck for his brother; he then drove for Benner Tea Company from 1954-1968. From 1968-1984 he served as superintendent of buildings and grounds for the West Burlington School District. He then worked as a self-employed HVAC contractor from 1984 until his retirement in 1999.
He was a member of West Burlington United Methodist Church. He served with the West Burlington Fire Department for 33 ½ years, six of which as Chief and 14 as a training officer. He was a member of the board of directors for the Iowa Society of Fire Service Instructors, serving as president for four years, the Iowa Fire Chief's Association, the Iowa Firefighters Association, the Iowa Association of Arson Investigators He was a past member of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors and the International Fire Chief's Association.
He was Instructor Emeritus for the Iowa Fire Service Training Bureau. He served on the Fire Service Advisory committee, the Joint Council of Fire Service Organizations and the Firefighter Training Fund committee. In addition, he served on several curriculum committees and was a certification evaluator for the Fire Safety Training Board. He was the first person in Iowa to be certified as a Fire Apparatus Driver/Operator. He attended several classes at the National Fire Academy in Emmetsburg, MD, and developed two classes on basic fire training and emergency vehicle driving. He taught first aid and CPR for the American Red Cross.
He received the Governor's award for Community Service in 1994 and received the Roger Mooty award for dedication to education and training in the fire service from the Iowa Fire Chief's Association in 1998.
He is survived by his wife Viola "Vi" Beenblossom of West Burlington; three daughters, Karen (Mike) Bree of Cody, WY, Carolyn Lees of West Burlington and Carla (Eric) Schweizer of Burlington; five grandchildren, Matthew (Anissa) Bree of Cody, WY, Shanara Gabrielle (Alec Wild) of Washington D.C., Katrina (Kyle) Hampel of Lee's Summit, MO, Kevin (Jill Burtlow) Lees of Mt. Pleasant and Shanti (Matt) Grossman of Austin, TX; five great grandchildren, Skylah and Gabriel Bree of Cody, WY, Emery and Ella Bree of Sheraton, WY, Serenity Lees of Mt. Pleasant, Lydia Hampel of Lee's Summit, MO, and Moser Grossman and Calla Grossman of Austin, TX; three step grandchildren, Tessa Wild, Jack Wild and Riley Wild; foreign exchange student, Louise Cummings of Maryland; sister-in-law, Betty Beenblossom of Washington, IA and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, one grandson, Michael Bree II and three brothers, Richard, Lewis and Lloyd.
The funeral service for Mr. Beenblossom will be 10:00 a.m. Thursday, July 27th at Lunning Chapel. Pastor Elizabeth Bell will officiate. Interment will be in Burlington Memorial Park Cemetery. The Southeast Iowa Regional Fire Honor Guard will provide funeral detail. The family will receive friends from 5:30 until 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 26th at Lunning Chapel.
Memorials have been established for the West Burlington Fire Department and for the Iowa Fire Service Memorial in Coralville, Iowa.

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