Vigen Memorial Home – Kenneth J. Kersten, 82, of Keokuk

Kenneth James "Jim" Kersten, 82, of Keokuk, died Saturday, Oct 10, 2020.

Kenneth James “Jim” Kersten, 82, of Keokuk, died Saturday, October 10, 2020 at Unity Point Health in Keokuk.

     He was born on July 8, 1938 in Persia, IA, the son of Kenneth S. and Ada Marie McCurly Kersten.  He graduated from Logan High School in Logan, IA with the Class of 1957.  He then studied at Wayne State College in Wayne, NE and received his Bachelor’s degree in 1961.   He furthered his education at Murray State University of Kentucky where he received his Master’s Degree.  Jim continued to study throughout his career, accumulating an additional 30 hours.

     On July 29, 1960, Jim was united in marriage to Phyllis Hornbeck in Logan, IA. They recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

   Jim began his teaching career in Anita, IA and then moved to Atlantic, IA where he taught for three years.  The rest of his career was spent with the Keokuk Community School district where he taught high school science and coached track, football and wrestling.  After thirty nine years of teaching and inspiring young lives, Jim retired in 2000. 

     He was a faithful and active member of the First Christian Church Disciples of Christ in Keokuk.  He was also a member of the ISEA, the NEA and the KEA.  

   Jim enjoyed watching track and field and working on cars.  He restored and rebuilt several cars and sold them.  Jim was a caring and loving family man who was devoted to his wife and children and the life they shared.  His grandchildren and great-grandchildren were his pride and joy and he loved spending time with them.

     Jim is survived by his wife, Phyllis of Keokuk, three sons, Scott Kersten and his wife Lori of Wichita, KS, Todd Kersten and his wife Amy and Kelly Kersten and his wife Angela, all of Davenport, IA, eight grandchildren, Courtney Todd and her husband Josh, Jesse Kersten and his wife Lauren, Josh Kersten, Jake Kersten, Sarah Kersten, Ally Kersten, Michael Kersten and Sean Kersten, and two great-grandchildren, Parker and Briggs Kersten.

     He was preceded in death by his parents.

     Private family services will be held.  The family asks that friends participate in the service by watching the live-stream on the First Christian Church facebook page or the Vigen Memorial Home facebook page at 1 p.m, Saturday. 

    Visitation will be held Saturday from 2 – 3 p.m. at the First Christian Church in Keokuk with the family meeting with friends at that time. Masks will be required and social distancing will be in effect.

     Memorials may be made to the First Christian Church or to the Keokuk High School Track and Field Program.

     Online condolences may be sent to the family at

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