Former Greene County Commissioner Kenneth Cantrell has died.
Cantrell was 98.
Cantrell was born in Duncan, Missouri and moved to the springfield area as a youth. He attended school until the 9th grade and then took a variety of jobs from milking cows to pumping gas to caddying at local golf courses.
He served in the Eastern Theatre during World War II in the 10th Mountain Infantry, Company K, 87th Regiment. He earned a field commission to Sergeant when his company’s commander was killed in a battle, and lead a flanking maneuver to get his unit away from a machine gun nest.
Cantrell stayed until the last soldier escaped to safety, returning fire to pin down the enemy. While defending his men, he suffered multiple wounds that were noted on his discharge papers in a citation.
He received the purple heart, two Bronze Stars, and a good conduct medal along with multiple ribbons for his service.
He ran for Greene County Commissioner after retiring from a career that saw him start as a city bus driver, and led to being a multiple business owner of a real estate company, construction company, and Casco Kitchen Center.
When he retired, he ran for the eastern commissioner position in Greene County and served for ten years.
“We are saddened by the passing of Commissioner Ken Cantrell,” Greene County Presiding Commissioner Bob Dixon said about Cantrell. “He was a kind and generous man who loved his family and friends. He did indeed serve eastern Greene County with his whole heart. The Cantrell family is certainly in our thoughts and prayers.”
Ken was married to his wife Agatha (also called Gay) for 79 years, had two children, six grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandson.
He and Gay were members of High Street Baptist Church for over 60 years, where they taught Sunday School and worked in the kitchen to provide meals for the hungry in the community.
The public is welcome to services for Cantrell, Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. at Greenlawn Funeral Home East. Internment with full military honors will follow at Greenlawn Memorial Gardens.