Charles Kenneth Willett
Charles Kenneth Willett
  • July 12, 1931 - October 29, 2017
  • Virginia Beach, Virginia

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Ken Willett, of Virginia Beach, passed away Sunday, October 29th, after a brief illness. Mr. Willett had a distinguished career as a manager and engineer with Western-Electric Company (later Lucent Technologies). He was 86 years old.

Ken grew up in Oklahoma City, OK. After graduating from St. Gregory's High School of Shawnee, OK in 1949, he served an enlistment in the United States Navy, then earned his degree in Mathematics from what is now the University of Central Oklahoma.

He began his career with Western-Electric Company in 1958, as a Planning Engineer in Winston-Salem, NC. His career focused on experiment planning, system design, and performance evaluation. He rose to Senior Engineer, and in 1971, was promoted to management, leading the company's operations in Hampton Roads until his retirement.

In 1954, Ken married Jeanne Gengler of Oklahoma City. They raised their son, David, in Winston-Salem, where Ken was active in Our Lady of Mercy Church. He served on a number of committees, as a lector, Eucharistic Minister, and youth basketball coach. He had a winning record as the backfield coach of the Ardmore Wildcats, David's Pop Warner football team. Continuing these interests upon relocating to Virginia Beach, he served in a number of capacities with St. Gregory's Parish, including starting the basketball program there. Other hobbies included bridge (at tournament level), history, sports, and relaxing with friends & family. Following Jeanne's death in 1995, Ken married Peggy Keane of Virginia Beach in 1996.

Ken is survived by his wife, Peggy; his son, David; daughter-in-law, Jackie; granddaughter, Kristen and her husband Scott; grandson, Charles; great-granddaughter, Isabelle; his step-children, Patrick and his spouse Pam, Peter, Peggy, Paul and his spouse Amy, and Michael. He is also survived by his step-grandchildren, Jason, Monica, Richie, Lauren, Hannah, Paul, Jr., Kenley and Zach; and his step-great granddaughter, Hailey.

A funeral mass will be held at 10:00 a.m., November 2, 2017 at St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church, celebrated by Father Eric Vogt. Burial will follow in Rosewood Memorial Park.