Kenneth Royce Jatko, of Bryan, Texas, loving husband and father, died Sunday, August 28th 2005, at the Sheridan Nursing Home on Rock Prairie Road in College Station, Texas, after a long illness.
Born in Roubaix, South Dakota June 3, 1922, the first of three children of Richard and Helen (Virkula) Jatko, Royce, as he was known to friends and family in the Black Hills, attended elementary school in Keystone, SD and later graduated from Rapid City High School in 1939. He studied Chemical Engineering at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, graduating in 1943.
Royce was employed after graduation with Reynolds Metals in Richmond, VA for approximately eighteen months. He enlisted in the US Army in 1945. Due to his technical education, he was assigned to the Army Special Engineering Detachment at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where he worked in the gaseous diffusion plant operated by Union Carbide and Carbon Corp. The diffusion plant produced fissionable materials used for the atomic bombs used in Japan in August 1945.
At Oak Ridge he met Maxie Lou Heidle of Wartburg, TN. They married 18 May 1946.
After the war, Ken took a job with Union Carbide Corp. in South Charleston, West Virginia, where he worked in the Engineering Department and as an executive recruiter. He later transferred to Pointe Claire, Quebec, and subsequently to Houston in 1967. After leaving Union Carbide in 1972, he worked for El Paso Products in Odessa, TX in their human resources department. He retired in 1983.
Active in the Presbyterian Church for over forty years, Ken responded to his internal calling and studied at the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Austin, TX, graduating in 1986. He served as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Abbeville, Louisiana, from 1986 to 1993, subsequently retiring to Bryan, TX in 1993.
He is survived by Maxie, his wife of 59 years, of Bryan, and sons Roger A. Jatko, Parker, CO; Terence C. Jatko, Moultonborough, NH ; Royce C. Jatko, Honolulu, HI ; and S. Brent Jatko, Houston, TX.
A memorial service will be held at 5 PM 6 October 2006 in the First Presbyterian church, 1100 Carter Creek Parkway, Bryan, TX 77802.