Kenneth Nolan Rideout

Kenneth Nolan Rideout

Forty-eight-year Butte resident, Kenneth Nolan Rideout, 78, stole the show during the epic 2022 New Year windstorm and passed away at home on January 2, 2022 with his beloved Runt (Judi) by his side.

A small ragtag family service will take place in the coming weeks with a raucous summer celebration of life to follow at a date to be determined.

Kenny Rideout, also known as “the old one!” when confused with his namesake, was born November 5, 1943 in Walker, Minnesota to June Lenora Starr Rideout and Clinton Rideout. He spent his early years running roughshod on his Starr grandparents’ farm, hunting and fishing around Leech Lake, and being doted on by a bevy of maternal aunts. He graduated from Walker High School in 1961. After a chance encounter in a dark theater when he was 15, he met the love of his life, Judi Andersen. (She tripped over his foot.) Like all great teenage love stories, their love blossomed while tromping through marshes hunting ducks and carrying around tackle boxes. They married during a Minnesota snowstorm on December 22, 1961 and recently celebrated 60 years of marriage.

In August 1973, Ken and Judi with their two children drove up the ALCAN for a month-long vacation in the Matanuska Valley. When they came down Bailey Hill with Pioneer Peak jutting into the sky before them, Judi describes how they both choked up and knew they’d found their forever home. Begrudgingly they returned to Minnesota, packed up their children Beaver and Kim, and pets into a camper that was somehow smaller on the inside than it looked on the outside, and drove the ALCAN once again. They arrived for good on May 2, 1974 and settled in the Butte where five generations of Rideout’s have now lived. Ken and Judi built their home out of a basement dwelling, replete with burlwood railings whittled by Ken.

True to the Alaskan spirit, Ken spent many years flying in and out of hunting camps with various success, fishing at Ken and Judi’s spot on the Kenai, hiking, four wheeling, snowmaching to various cabins and secret spots, and soaking up the tobacco pipe-flavored mountain air. If you caught Ken in a photo he was either: holding a fish, flipping off the camera, holding a different fish, or napping. (We cropped the fish out of the photo above.) He loved Alaska and the family and friends he got to enjoy it with.

Ken worked at Koslosky’s grocery store and was a meat cutter and produce manager at the commissary on Fort Richardson before retiring in 2002. For the last 20 years, Ken filled his retirement days with carving exquisite burlwood canes, building custom knives and designing and creating leatherwork embossed with his ubiquitous initials. His were the favorite secret Santa gifts. Ken also was an avid list keeper and would have made a commendable librarian. He kept track of every bird to visit the feeder on their front deck, he ranked his favorite tried and true recipes with a gold star system, and wrote meticulous grocery lists. At the time of his passing, Ken had recorded 20,326 eggs that their chickens had produced since 2011. Every family member was required to take a dozen after each visit to the Rideout’s.

Ken adored his family. His bear hugs were legendary and freely given. He is survived by his fishing and hunting partner and best friend, the love of the best 63 years of his life, Judi; his son, Jeff aka Beaver and Karyn Rideout of Butte, Alaska; daughter, Kimberly and Kevin Earp of Eagle River, Alaska; and five devoted grandchildren, Kenni (Niall) Linden of Palmer, Alaska; David (Kylie) Psenak of Houston, Alaska; Blake (Siera) Rideout of Butte, Alaska; Joey (Soské) Psenak of Palmer, Alaska; and Scott (Lacey) Rideout of Butte, Alaska. Ken was also the proud great-grandfather of eight: Mason, Finlo, Max, Ana, Asuna, Aoife, Ty Nolan, and Roaric. Ken was proceeded in death by his beloved mother, June Starr; father, Clint Rideout; brother Lyle Rideout; doting aunts, Honey, Tut, and Izzy, and a pack of beloved four-legged family members.

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Kehl’s Palmer Mortuary. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Palmer Musk Ox Farm.

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