Kenneth Schmelzer

June 24, 2014

By Contributor

Kenneth Schmelzer, longtime resident of Issaquah, passed away peacefully June 12, 2014, in the home he had crafted.

Kenneth was born Aug. 29, 1925, in Vancouver, Wash., to Herman and Gladys Schmelzer. After graduating from Vancouver High School, he was inducted into the United States Navy, where he honorably served his country on the USS Dixie throughout the South Pacific during World War II.

After being discharged, he returned home to attend Washington State College, where he met his future wife of 60 years, Ruth Maxine Keith. Ken earned a degree in education, and later received his master’s degree from the same institution.

Ken and Maxine moved to Issaquah in 1951, where he went on to teach industrial arts at Issaquah High School until 1985. After retirement, he worked remodeling homes in the Seattle region and spent his winters in Mesa, Ariz.

Ken had many interests throughout his lifetime, but found his greatest passion in the history of logging in the western United States. He authored two books on the subject, which were internationally known. In addition, he was an avid model railroad enthusiast and national award-winning model-railroad builder.

His knowledge of western logging history, and his success as a modeler, drew people from around the world to visit his home in Issaquah to expand their knowledge and view his work. His passion for research and history continued to the end of his life, leaving another book in progress.

Maxine preceded Ken in death in November 2009. A devoted husband, father, grandfather and educator, he is survived by his two sons Keith, of Sacramento, Calif., and Jerry, of Carnation, daughter-in-law Teri, beloved granddaughters Taylor and Morgan, extended family and friends. Ken will be greatly missed by all.

A committal service will be held at 1:30 p.m. Monday, June 30, 2014, at Tahoma National Cemetery, 18600 S.E. 240th St., Kent, WA 98042. Proceeding, a gathering to celebrate his life will occur at Flintoft’s Issaquah Funeral Home at 11:30 a.m.

Please visit the website or call 392-4444 for location and information. Friends are encouraged to attend and invited to share memories. Sign the family’s online guest book at

Remembrances may be made to the National Parkinson Foundation at

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