We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Wadena
Kenneth James Lyken was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on October 23rd, 1966 to Harold Eugene Lyken and Shirley Ann Peltier. A fall down the stairs midway through Shirley’s pregnancy likely caused the umbilical cord to be wrapped around Ken’s neck. At the time of his birth, this caused oxygen deprivation which resulted in Ken’s having a severe cognitive impairment, mild cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and autism. Much later in life, Alzheimer’s disease was added to his diagnoses.
Life was never easy for Ken. He was late to walk, nonverbal, and had a very short attention span. Ken also had significant sensory sensitivities, making him touch and sound sensitive; yet, Ken was typically a happy guy.
As a child, Ken loved listening to records on his phonograph and looking at slides using his Viewmaster. He was also never one to turn down a ride in his wagon. When his brothers had mock wrestling matches with him and let Ken win, he would grin from ear to ear. From childhood on, Ken loved anything to do with the Peanuts gang, including books, movies, plush toys, and clothing. He also enjoyed paging through books and magazines, shuffling through cards, and looking at family photographs. In addition, putting together puzzles, watching wrestling and old time cartoons on television, taking walks in his neighborhood, and going for long car rides brought Ken joy. And, boy, oh boy did Ken love to eat. In fact, nothing made him happier than M & M’s and a Pepsi, a shrimp or a chicken tenders basket, a piece of pie, or a trip to the Dairy Queen.
Sadly, it was eating that became the catalyst for Ken’s untimely death as he choked on his breakfast on the morning of Friday, May 27th, 2022. Despite lifesaving measures attempted by the group home staff, law enforcement officers, and hospital workers; Ken was without oxygen for too long and was pronounced deceased the next day shortly after life support was removed.
Ken was preceded in death by his parents, Harold and Shirley Lyken, and his Uncle Edwin Lyken.
Ken will be sorely missed. He is survived by his sisters Kathleen (William) Allen, and Karen (Michael) Derrig; his brothers Randall Lyken and Paul Lyken; nephews Travis and Reed Allen, and Joe and Jaime Derrig, and his niece Shayna Allen. Ken is also survived by his housemates and the staff (both past and present) at Oakridge Home #2 in Staples, Minnesota as well as his former fellow clients and the staff at the Wadena County DAC in Sebeka, Minnesota.
The visitation for Ken will take place at the Karvonen Funeral Home in Wadena, MN on Thursday, June 16th, from 1pm to 3pm. Immediately thereafter, he will be laid to rest by his mother, father, and uncle in the Wadena Cemetery.