Kenneth Richard Wernig


Last updated 8/14/2023 at 12:41pm

Kenneth Richard Wernig, passed away on August 8, 2023 at Collier Park Senior Living in Beaumont, Texas.

He was born on March 29, 1946 in St. Louis, Missouri to David and Olivia Wernig.

He is preceded in death by his mother and father, his brother Daniel Wernig, and his beloved Aunt Josie. He spent the first 16 years of his life in St. Louis, and then Ken decided to join a monastery. He attended the Carmelite Monastery of St. Joseph's Minor Seminary in Peterborough, New Hampshire.

While in the monastery, he graduated from high school. He always joked that he was the valedictorian AND the top 50% of the class because there was only one other graduate. After his second year of college, part of the monastery moved to Dallas, Texas.

He graduated from the University of Dallas in 1969 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. After four years in the monastery, Ken decided to leave in hopes of one day starting a family. While he was at the University of Dallas, he met Natalie Wingate, and they married in 1969. Shortly after that, Ken received a draft notice. Natalie was pregnant with their first child, and they moved her back to Orange. He was not selected for the draft, so they settled in Orange, and he began teaching English at Orangefield High School. He and Natalie had five children together: Marc, Ben, Jeremy, Nathan, and Elizabeth.

Ken went on to acquire a Master's Degree in Education and School Administration in 1981 from Lamar University. In December of 1986, Ken and Theresa married, and he gained two step-daughters, Miranda and Erica. As his children got older, the family continued to grow. Ken was blessed with a large number of grandchildren.

He often said that grandchildren were so much fun, he should have had them first. Besides being a beloved father and Pah Pah, Ken was a much-loved educator who touched the lives of a multitude of young people throughout his long years in education. Most of his years as an educator were spent in the Orangefield School District and West Orange CISD with many years at Lamar State College-Orange. Ken always had a second job and worked for Claybar Funeral Home for 25 years.

He is survived by his children and their spouses: Marcus Wernig, Benjamin and Pilar Wernig, Jeremy and Gina Wernig, Nathan and Amy Wernig, Elizabeth and Jimmy LeBoeuf, Miranda and Phil Phillips, Erica and Kevin Grissom. Niece Laura Wernig and nephew Darin Wernig. He leaves behind his beloved grandchildren Tyler Worsham, Kirby Clayton, Mary Wernig, Madeleine Wernig, Natalie Wernig, Kenneth Wernig II, Gabriel Wernig, Gracie Wernig, Sutton Wernig, Aiden Wernig, Alexandra Wernig, Beckett Wernig, Mason LeBoeuf, Meredith LeBoeuf, Claire Phillips, Tanner Phillips, Parker Phillips, Ace Grissom, and Charlie Grissom He is also survived by his great-grandchildren: Jacob Worsham, Kaylee Bradley, Braxton Worsham, Brodie Worsham, and Carsen Fox.

A visitation will be held on Friday, August 11, 2023 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Claybar Funeral Home in Orange. Services will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, August 12, 2023 at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Orange with interment to follow at St. Mary Catholic Cemetery in Orange.

In lieu of flowers the family requests honoring Ken by providing school supplies for students and new teachers.

The family would like to express their appreciation to the staff at Collier Park Senior Living, especially LaDonna and Chelsey, who became part of Ken's caretaking village. The family will be forever grateful to his caregiver, Sherry, who showed him such tender and loving care. Sherry said the biggest joy of her life was to work with Ken.

During his final weeks hospice caregivers Holly, Gwynn, Sheila, and Jessica were wonderful; Cesily checked on him daily; and Sharon was a godsend to the family.


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