Liblady's Genealogy Blog

Kenneth’s 75 Surprise Party
July 2, 2013, 4:12 pm
Filed under: Personal History, Voss

Kenneth’s 75th Birthday

Invitation to Kenneth's 75

Invitation to Kenneth’s 75

Several months prior to April, Melba and I were invited to a surprise party for Kenneth.  He was going to be 75 years old on April 21.  His daughters, Step and Shay, helped Billie plan this party. Plans were made for Melba and me to fly out to Portland, but how were we going to stay out of sight from Friday evening until Sunday noon.  Coming to our rescue was a cousin (not a first) who lived in the area. I had been in contact with her through Facebook, she had mentioned several times she wanted to get in touch with Kenneth.


Tom and Willorene

Willorene and her husband, Tom were gracious, letting us stay with them, then they took us to party where they met Kenneth and his family.

Melba’s daughter, Creta drove us to Burlington, Colorado, where another daughter, Caylia and her husband Frank, picked us up, driving us to the airport.  Tom and Willorene were there at Portland to pick us up.

Saturday we enjoyed visiting with Tom and Willorene, catching up on family and talking genealogy.


Here’s my pitch!

That afternoon, their grandson was playing ball, so we went to the park and watched a combination pitcher, coach pitch game for these young boys.

It gave Melba and me  an opportunity to meet Willorene’s daughters, a son-in-law, a granddaughter and 2 grandsons.

Sunday we drove from Beaverton, WA to Church of the Good Shepherd Church in Vancouver, Washington. Since it was a surprise we had to stay out of sight until party time.  When Ken’s family arrived at the church, they were surprised because the partition that divided the sanctuary from the fellowship area (where the party was to take place) was open.  Kenneth was the lay reader for the service, so he could see into the area.  So some of the decorations didn’t get put up until after the morning service was over.  There was a crowd, friends and family other than his church family,  in the choir room awaiting the service to be over, so they could gather in the fellowship hall.  Tom and Willorene gathered with as we greeted, Shannon, and Syrus, Steve, and other friends.

Of course, Kenneth was oblivious to any thing going on.  He hadn’t put together why Billie had so many phone calls from the “Altar Guild”.  (She had only recently gotten her own cell phone.) He didn’t have to count money after services and was ready to head out for dinner with Billie for his birthday.  Interruptions kept coming up,  as they were ready to leave, Billie remembered she need to get something from the hall.  They called out surprise, and Kenneth told us, there was this person who looked like his daughter from Texas, but she had called that morning to wish him “Happy Birthday”, she came up and gave him a hug.


This is my daughter from Texas.
How did she get here?

Then he turned around and thought that looks like my son from Texas, he was just here a few days ago.  It took a couple minutes to register that Step and Shannon were there to surprise him.  Also there were,  his daughter, Shay and grandson, Syrus, they live in the area.   Also, sons-in-law Jon Gower and Steve Alexander were attending.

Melba and I waited in the choir room until after they were able to get fellowship hall ready, and surprise Kenneth.  After we heard the call “Surprise”, I waited a couple of minutes to call Kenneth on his cell.


Dad, I think your phone is ringing.

He couldn’t  get it out in time to answer, but since it was his sister, he called back,  knowing she was calling to wish him “Happy Birthday”. He called me back, and then  proceeded to try to get me off the phone.

I wished him “Happy Birthday”, then tried to ask him “What would like for your birthday?  How about your sisters?” I repeated it about 3 times as we walked into the hall.


In disbelief – My sisters from Kansas are here

Finally he was turned around and his chin hit the floor as he realized  his sisters were there.  (Later, Kenneth told us, he had been totally surprised to see his daughter, from Texas, and his son, also from Texas).  He was speechless.

Family, friends, church family, and co-workers had gathered to help him with this celebration.  A light lunch along with cake was served.  After most of the people had been served, a video of photos of Kenneth and his family over the 75 years was shared.

Shannon and Step honor Dad

Shannon and Step honor Dad

Before the video, Step and Shannon each had to say a few words.

Shay let them do it. Before you knew, it was time to wrap up and head home.

Syrus, Shay and Shannon

Syrus, Shay and Shannon

Now I'm comfortable.  As he opens cards and gifts, he has stories to tell.

Now I’m comfortable. As he opens cards and gifts, he has stories to tell.

At home, the first thing Ken did was to get out of his suit and get comfortable.  We visited, and he opened his presents, and cards.  Melba and I remained to spend a couple of days before we returned home.   He was completely surprised and it lasted for a couple of days. Had a good time visiting with the family that came back to the house.

Our trip home was another experience.  We had a delay because Denver had snow, then because of snow, we spent the night with Caylia and Frank, got to see their children and grandchildren.



The Voss Family


Shay, Shannon, Billie, Kenneth, Stepanie
on April 21, 2013

The Voss Clan


Alex and Shay, Shannon, Billie & Kenneth Stepanie and Jon

Kenneth and Sisters


Melba, Kenneth and Karen

Family attending:

Children : Step and Jon, Shannon, Shay and Steve    Sisters: Melba and Karen       Grandson: Syrus    Cousins: Willorene and Tom     Billie’s Family:  Sisters: Kathy and husband, Jerry , Charlene   Nieces: Vonnie, Shelley and her husband, Bob

Unable to attend: Daughter-in-law -Debbie, Grandson – Devin and Granddaughter – Dani


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