Kenneth Harold Fike passed away peacefully in his home in Hastings on Saturday, November 5th, 2022. He was a man that went by many names: Kenny, Barrel, Dad, Coach, Teach, Gramps, Uncle Ken, Fiker, Fikester. He answered to them all with his characteristic wry grin. Kenny Fike was born under Coit Tower in San Francisco, grew up on “A” street in Lincoln Nebraska, graduated high school in Pass Christian Mississippi and graduated college from San Jose State in California. While there, he met the love of his life, Carla Madrid, with whom he remained married for 56 years.
Kenny and Carla decided that California was not where they wanted to raise their children, so they loaded up the truck and they moved to Hastings (Nebraska, that is, summer heat, winter winds). The Fikes settled down on Colorado street with their two children, Edgar (Ned) and Andrea (Andi).
Ken settled in to teach first in the Middle School and then in the High School. He coached several state champions in both tennis and golf, he reffed countless football and basketball games, he taught drivers ed, roofed houses in the summer, painted houses with his brother-in-law and partner-in-crime Jake Moser and was a landlord in various botched “owning an apartment complex” schemes. He also started a tennis program during the summer in which he coached and taught the youth and adults of Hastings (including his two children, his wife and his sister-in-law, Coralee) to serve, volley, and hit the ball with reckless abandon. They were rewarded with a love of the game and an orange t-shirt.
Kenny served on the Hastings City Council and was proud of the work that he did--the skate park and walking trails were created during his tenure on the council.
Above all and most importantly, Ken taught. He was a teacher. He taught thousands of students at our beloved Hastings High the importance of knowing our country’s history and he asked them to think for themselves.
Ken is preceded in death by his mom Dixie, his dad Tom, his stepmom Evelyn, and his stepsister Jana (and many beloved in-laws). He will be remembered for his fire, his grit, his intelligence, his love of traveling, his love of a ‘’good’’ bargain and his wit by his wife Carla, his kids Ned, Andi, Sara and Tom, his grandkids Emily, Owen, Eliza, Tommy and Lucía, his brothers Chris and Ned and his sisters Nancy and Sandy. He was Uncle Ken to sixteen nieces and nephews and brother-in-law to Carole, Coralee, Jake, Ron, Melissa, Dean, Tim, Barb, Diane, Mike, and Michael.
Kenneth Harold Fike will be remembered at a memorial on Friday, November 25th at 11:00 AM at the First Presbyterian Church in Hastings Nebraska. A lunch will be served at the church immediately following the memorial. An informal gathering will occur at the Fike household after the lunch for those wishing to further the celebration of this man’s extraordinary life.