Kenneth E. Essex, 74, of Panama, died on Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, at 10:10 p.m. at Nature Trail Health and Rehabilitation Center in Mt. Vernon.
A memorial ceremony will be conducted Saturday, Oct. 15, beginning at 12 p.m. at Perfetti-Assalley Funeral Home in Panama, 117 Walnut St., with the Rev. Frank Loskot, Jr. officiating. The ceremony will begin with masonic rites. Inurnment with military honors will follow at Union Cemetery in Panama.
Mr. Essex was born Sept. 23, 1948, in Carlyle, to Edgebert “Buzz” and Ruby (Carter) Essex. He married Elizabeth Craig in 1977, in West Frankfort, and she preceded him in death on Feb. 19, 1999. He later married Diane Redfearn on April 24, 2004, at Rend Lake, and she preceded him in death on June 7, 2020.
After graduating high school, he proudly served his country in the U.S. Army. He went on to work for many years and retire from Franklin Williamson Human Services.
Mr. Essex was a longtime member of the Masonic Lodge in West Frankfort and loved camping and fishing.
He is survived by his sons, Benjamin (wife Tanya) Essex of Pueblo West, CO, and Theodore (wife Liz) Essex of West Frankfort; stepdaughters, Melanie Tarver of Panama and Erica (husband Derek) LeMaster of Edwardsville; grandchildren, Macenzie Knox, Maressa Tarver, Maryn Tarver, Ava Essex and Kolby LeMaster; brother, Duane Essex of Benton; and several nieces and nephews.
In addition to his wives, Mr. Essex was preceded in death by his parents; and two sisters, Lois Moore and Mary Fouts.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Nature Trail Health and Rehabilitation Center, 1001 S. 34th Street, Mt. Vernon, IL 62864.
Online condolences to the family may be left at www.assalleyfuneralhomes.com.