Dr. Kenneth Zabel

With thanksgiving in our hearts for a life-well lived, the family of Kenneth Paxton Zabel announces his passing.  Ken died February 21, 2012 at Brandon Woods of Alvamar.  He leaves behind a loving family with lasting memories of a husband, father, brother, grandfather, uncle and friend.

Ken was born October 3, 1937 on a farm near Wetmore, Kansas, the first of three children to Mary (League) Zabel and Kenneth George Zabel.  He graduated Wetmore High School in 1956 where he played on the varsity basketball team.  Ken then moved to Lawrence to attend The University of Kansas where he met his bride, Cheryl (Davis) Zabel.  They were married June 18, 1960 in Independence, Missouri.   Cheryl survives of the home. 

Ken graduated from the University of Kansas in 1961 with a degree In English, and then earned his Medical Degree, also from the University of Kansas, in 1965.  He completed his medical internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center in 1969 and began his medical practice in Pittsburg, Kansas.  Ken went on to practice medicine in Pittsburg for 22 years, until his retirement in 1991. 

While in Pittsburg, Ken and Cheryl were extremely active in a variety of community and civic organizations and very active in their church, where Ken served in the priesthood.  While managing a very busy medical practice, Ken also served on the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, served as team physician for various Pittsburg State University athletic teams and coached his children’s sports teams.  As one of the first board certified geriatric physicians in the state, Ken was instrumental in starting up the first hospital-based hospice care center in Kansas.  He received many awards for his community and professional contributions over the years and made treasured friendships among professional colleagues.

Although accomplished professionally, Ken was a farm boy at heart and loved spending time outside doing yard work, tending to his garden, and fishing.  He loved the mountains and made many trips to Colorado over the years to enjoy their beauty.  Hobbies included painting and reading, especially WWII history books.  More than anything Ken modeled a strong faith in God, and loved his wife, family, and the Kansas Jayhawks. 

Survivors include four children, Michael Zabel and wife Debra of Lawrence; Deborah (Zabel) Galbraith and husband Richard of Lawrence; Dwight Zabel and wife Staci of Branson, Missouri; David Zabel of Lawrence.  Ken is survived by two sisters, Virginia (Zabel) Matthews and husband Donald of Independence, Missouri and Mary Coleen (Zabel) Shorten of Kansas City, Missouri; sister-in-law and brother-in-law Jeannette (Davis) Day and Richard Day of Independence, Missouri.  Ken also leaves behind 8 grandchildren: Matt and Lauren Zabel; Andrew and Carrie Galbraith; Morgan, Lexi and Tanner Zabel; Collin Meatte.  Ken is lovingly remembered as “Uncle Pax” to eight nieces and nephews and many other young people he mentored throughout his life.

A memorial service honoring the life of Ken will be held Saturday, March 3 at 1:00pm at Community of Christ Church, 1900 University Drive in Lawrence. 

Memorial contributions may be made in his name to Community of Christ Church in Lawrence through Warren-McElwain Mortuary. 

12 Condolences

  1. Maggie and Chuck Osborn on February 23, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Mary and family, Our thoughts and prayers are with you. What a legacy your brother has given his family. God bless ou all.

  2. Doug, Karyn, Chris, Courtney Day on February 23, 2012 at 10:53 am

    To the entire Zabel family:

    Uncle Pax will be missed by us and we will remember him always.

    We love you all and will see you all very soon

  3. Bill Campbell, M.D. on February 23, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    I am honored to have been Ken’s fellow classmate (KUMC ’65) and friend. We shared many patients when we practiced in southeast Kansas. He is now at peace and in a better place. God bless to all the family.

  4. Nanette Krumsick on February 24, 2012 at 7:40 am

    We are so sorry to hear of your loss. Dr. Zabel took such good care of my Dad, John Azamber. The girls(Lori & Lisa)fondly remember going to school with Mike.
    Please accept our sincere condolences.
    Nanette Krumsick

  5. Phyllis Payne on February 25, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Dave, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Please accept my condolences for you and your family.


  6. Theron & Myrna Talley on February 26, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Virginia, was so sorry to hear of Paz’s passing. My Mother took care of him he was young. I always admire him for kindness and determination to to do his best.

  7. Shellee Todd and family on February 26, 2012 at 9:50 am

    David – I am very sorry to hear about the passing of your dad. I know this is very difficult, my heart aches for you. Know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. God bless all of you. We love you.

  8. Danielle & Scott Gadow on February 27, 2012 at 8:42 am

    Please accept our sincerest sympathy toward the loss of your husband/father. Dr. Zabel will always be in our fond memories of our elementary/middle/high school days.

  9. Betty Purcell on February 27, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Danielle notified me of Ken’s passing. I understand the sorrow that the family is feeling. Ken led a good life that touched many people. He will be missed by all who knew him.

  10. Ron Haxton on February 28, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Virginia, so sorry to hear about Pax’s passing. My condolences to the entire Zabel clan. Will always remember your brothers determination to play
    WRHS basketball.
    Ron Haxton

  11. Vicki Tomlinson on March 1, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Virginia and Zabel family, am so sorry to learn of Pax’s passing, his resolve in life was always very evident. Vicki Tomlinson

  12. Janet Pennybaker on March 4, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    We are so sorry to hear about your loss. You have our deepest sympathy.

    Kent, Janet, Attie, and Austin Pennybaker

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