Obituary of Kenneth Owen Surbaugh
Kenneth Owen Surbaugh, 94, of Roanoke, passed away on October 17, 2022 at Roanoke Memorial Hospital. He was born on October 5, 1928 in Meadow Creek, WV, one of ten children. He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Mary Elizabeth Surbaugh, and his siblings Richard Surbaugh, Ralph Surbaugh, Chester Surbaugh, Virginia Hall, Joyce Lily, Gloria Harrah, and Mabel Surbaugh.
Ken left school after the eleventh grade to care for his widowed mother, but not before winning the highest math award for the State of West Virginia. During World War II he spent a summer in Indiana where he lived in a boarding house and worked in a ketchup factory while sending money home to his mother. Ken served in the US Air Force from 1949 to 1952, spending 21 months in Korea as a radio operator and earning his GED. He then went to work as a telegraph operator for the C&O Railroad in Thurmond, WV, where he met Shirley McGuffin, his wife of nearly 67 years. After a stint with Smith’s Transfer in Princeton, WV, he went to work for IBM in 1961 and moved his family to Roanoke. He spent 29 successful years with IBM as a customer engineer, winning multiple awards for customer service and expertise. He was a client favorite due to that expertise as well as his good humor and outgoing personality.
Ken spent his later years enjoying his retirement—fishing, playing golf, working in his garden, visiting his buddies at the VFW, and enjoying his family and friends. He especially loved spending time with his son Greg and his grandchildren CJ and Alex. His and Shirley’s cross-country trips to visit them in Missouri and Texas were legendary among their friends.
Ken is survived by his wife, Shirley Surbaugh, of Roanoke; his son, Gregory Surbaugh and his wife, Kathy, of Roanoke; his grandsons, CJ Surbaugh, of Durham, NC; and Alex Surbaugh, of Denton, TX; his brother, Raymond Surbaugh, of Rainelle, WV, and his half-brother, Jackie Hume of North Bend, Oregon.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests that memorials be made to the Salvation Army of the Roanoke Valley.
A memorial service and celebration of Ken’s life will be held on Wednesday, December 21, 2022 at 2:00 pm, with visitation at 1:00 pm, at Simpson Funeral Home, 5160 Peters Creek Road, NW, Roanoke, VA 24019.
Celebration of Life
In Loving Memory
1928 - 2022
5160 Peters Creek Road
Roanoke, VA 24019
3912 Electric Road
Roanoke, VA 24018
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