Kenneth E. Dirks, age 86, of Town Mosel, passed away peacefully on Friday, November 3, 2023 surrounded by his loving family. Kenny was known for his sense of humor, jovial laugh and his ability to spark a conversation with anyone.
He was born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin on April 24, 1937, to the late Elmer and Alvira (Grunwald) Dirks. Kenny was a 1955 graduate of Sheboygan Central High School. After graduation he served in the United States Air Force from 1955-1959 as a jet mechanic.
In 1958 Kenny was united in marriage to Shirley Erickson at First Lutheran Church in Mesa. They had celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary shortly before Shirley’s passing on April 28, 2008. The couple moved to the Cleveland area in 1959.
He drove in State “Truck Driving Championship” competitions for many years. Kenny won 3 State Championships and went on to Nationals. He was a recipient of many other truck driving awards. After retirement, he remained with the trucking groups as a judge. Kenny was a charter member and past president of Wisconsin’s Association of Truck Driving Champions. He had 37 years accident-free driving with the American Trucking Association. He was a retired member of the Teamsters Union Local 75.
He drove for Gateway Transportation then Yellow Freight, retiring in 1995. He was a charter member of the Lakeshore Driftbusters Snowmobile Club. He also was a longtime member of St. Mark’s UCC, Cleveland, WI, serving on various boards.
Outside of trucking, Kenny enjoyed traveling throughout the country. Some memorable trips included Hawaii, Alaska and vacationing in Mesa, Arizona. He was an avid fan of NASCAR.
Surviving Kenny is his daughters and their husbands, Denise (Larry) Heling of Town Mosel and Tammy (Peter) Koenig of Fall Creek, WI; four grandchildren, Erick (Amelia) Heling, Crystal (Seth) Walls, Casey Koenig and Brittany (Travis) Cynor; fourteen great-grandchildren, Chase, Azalea and Iris Heling, Eoin, Gavin, AnnaBella, Jaxin, Roklin and Kannin Walls, Aubrey and Ashlyn Koenig-Velie, Skylar, Quinton and Isaac Cynor; a brother Dale Dirks of Town of Mosel; sister-in-law Antoinette Horky; brothers-in-law Pete and Thomas (Debbie) Erickson and other relatives and friends.
Kenny was preceded in death by his lovely wife Shirley; his parents Elmer and Alvira Dirks; his in-laws Antone and Wava Erickson.
A funeral for Kenny will be held on Saturday, November 11, 2023 at 11:00 am at St. Mark’s UCC, W1307 Orchard Rd, Cleveland, WI 53015. The family will greet guests from 9:00 am until the time of the service. Interment and military funeral honors to immediately follow the service at St. Mark’s Cemetery. If you are unable to join the family the funeral will be livestreamed on Kenny’s obituary page on the funeral home’s website.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to St. Mark’s UCC, Cleveland, WI and Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice.
The family would like to thank the staff at Rocky Knoll Health Care Center and Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice for their loving care and support. A special thanks to Dr. Matthews and his staff at Matthews Oncology.