Kenneth Eugene Warden, affectionately known as “Shorty” departed this life on Feb. 10, 2014, at Decatur Memorial Hospital at the age of 90.
Kenneth was born on Aug. 9, 1923, in Galva, the son of Cleveland and Cleota (Guthry) Warden. As a child, Kenneth was devoted to singing gospel music with his sisters and brothers, known throughout the tri-state area as the Warden Quartet. In 1954, he moved to Decatur, where he became known as “Shorty”, one of the few black business owners in the city. In the years to follow he owned Shorty’s Auto Sales, Shorty’s Diner, Shorty’s B.B.Q, furniture stores, salvage yards, auto part stores and several other entrepreneurial ventures.
God and church was always first in his life. He met and befriended Elder Fred Warren at the First Church of God in Christ. When Elder Warren was called to pastor, Kenneth purchased a house on Clinton Street and transformed it into the original House of Faith Church of God in Christ where he was a drummer, Sunday school teacher, chief advisor and financial supporter. He loved what he called “The Grand Ole Church of God in Christ”.
Kenneth united in marriage to Florence C. Warden from this union he was blessed with nine children, the late Donna, the late Kenneth Jr., David of Kalamazoo, Mich., Linda of Houston, Jaynie of Los Angeles, Kathleen of Los Angeles, Barbara, Sharon and Ruth all of Decatur.
Kenneth leaves to cherish the life they shared together his loving wife of their youth, Florence C. Warden and his loving children. Kenneth leaves to continue his legacy his beloved grandchildren, Annetta (Nugget), Alven (Hercules), Brian, Kenneth, Rene, David, Shonda, Marie, Rochelle, Toni, Kenneth (Juice), Amanda, Keland (Hustler), Timmi (Banana), Niiki (Bubble Gum), Demian, Chelsea, Brandon (Smoke), Devon (Piggy Women), Ashley (Foxy), Breanna (Teacher), Jada (Wiggle Wobble) and Myles (Popeye).
He was blessed with a host of great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. He is survived by his sisters, Erma Jones of Mt. Vernon, Betty Thomas of Decatur and Christine Bell of Rockford; sister-in-law, Betty Barr of Florida; and brother, Harold Warden (Robbie) of California.
He was preceded in death by his parents, three brothers and two sisters.
A homegoing celebration will be held 11 a.m. Monday at the House of Faith Church of God in Christ, Decatur with Pastor Embra R. Patterson III, officiating. Burial will be at Greenwood Cemetery.
Visitation one hour before service.
Professional services entrusted to Walker Funeral Service and Chapel, Decatur. Visit www.walkerfs.com for more information.