Wells Kenneth Roger Mikolai, age 65, of Wells, suffered a stroke on Feb. 20 and passed away on Feb. 22, 2014, with his wife at his beside at the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis where he had been a patient since June 16, 2013.
Kenny was born in Mankato on Oct. 29, 1948, to Roger and Joan (Willaert) Mikolai. He grew up on a farm east of Wells, in Faribault County. He attended St. Casimir's Elementary School and graduated from Wells High School in 1966. He served his country in the U.S. Army, enlisting in January 1969. After completing basic training in Missouri he spent a year in Vietnam as a Traffic Controller. While on active duty he was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, and Army Commendation Medal. He was honorably discharged in October 1970.
Prior to enlisting in the U.S. Army Ken worked at FM Stamper in Wells. After his military service he worked for Nordaas American Homes of Minnesota Lake, building base structures for homes in Wells and nearby towns. After leaving NAH he was part of Mikolai and Harris Construction and later Ken Mikolai Masonry Construction until his retirement.
Ken married Cathryn Elaine Herbst in 1984. They were divorced in 2002. On Feb. 8, 2011, Kenny married Judy (Odette) Bautista in a civil ceremony in Blue Earth. Ken and Odette enjoyed touring around the countryside in his truck or on his Harley. In his earlier years he enjoyed playing card games with his friends at the VFW, cooking at the VFW for special events, boating, fishing, and meat processing at the family farm. After he retired he still liked playing cards or simply tinkering around in his shop. He also enjoyed watching old movies at home or listening to his vast collection of old songs. He was an avid Minnesota Vikings fan always watching every single game of the season. Before his stroke he was searching online for the team's probable 2014 draft picks.
Ken was an active member of the American Legion and the VFW. He served as Quartermaster Commander of VFW Post 1778 from 1974 to 1975.
Ken is survived by his wife, Odette, and stepsons, Alquin, Benjie-Al, and Cedric Dy. He is also survived by his sister, Dorothy (Mick) and Patrick O'Connor, of Lino Lakes; his brothers, Tom, of New Hope, Mike (Gloria) Pemberton, Randy, of Minneapolis, and Greg (Kellie), of Palisade, Colo., and his sister, Lisa and her husband Bob Long, of Miami, Fla. Ken is also survived by nieces, Tricia and Mindi, nephews, Jeremy, Barry, Tim, Bridger and Logan.
Ken was preceded in death by his parents, Roger and Joan; grandparents, Albert and Anna Mikolai; and grandparents, Henry and Therese Willaert.
A Memorial Service will be held from 2-3 p.m. on Saturday, April 5, 2014, at the Wells Community Center, located at 189 Second St. SE. A celebration of Ken's life will continue until 5 p.m.
A private internment with Military Honors will be at Fort Snelling National Cemetery at a later date.