Kenneth Jerome Utecht

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. — Kenneth Jerome Utecht, 91, of Detroit Lakes, Minn., died Monday, Sept. 3, 2012, at Emmanuel Nursing Home in Detroit Lakes.

A Mass of Christian burial for Kenneth is 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, 2012, in Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Detroit Lakes. Officiating is the Rev. Monsignor Timothy McGee. Visitation is 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012, with a Knights of Columbus Rosary Service at 6:30 p.m. followed by a 7 p.m. prayer service in the David-Donehower Funeral Home of Detroit Lakes. Visitation continues at the church one hour prior to the Friday services.

Kenneth was born to Joseph and Frances (Chase) Utecht on Feb. 27, 1921. He was raised and educated in Stillwater, graduating from high school in 1940. Ken enlisted in the United States Army, proudly serving his country in the South Pacific during World War II.

Ken was united in marriage to Jeane Desmond on Oct. 10, 1942, in Hyannis Port, Mass.

After the war, one of the many jobs Ken had was as a General Mills traveling salesman. This brought him to the Detroit Lakes area, where he ended up making a decision that would affect his entire family and a multitude of others for the next 20 years.

Ken and his wife, Jeane, bought a seasonal restaurant; continually adding on to the business, it soon became a year round establishment. Although selling out and relocating in 1970, people to this day fondly remember Ken’s Red Hen and The Black Bear Lounge.

Ken and Jeane, who returned to the area in 2005, worked side by side throughout their 70 years of marriage and continued cooking for several years at various restaurants and camps, a profession Ken enjoyed very much. After officially retiring at the young age of 68, Ken stayed busy cutting grass at the Forest Lake Golf Course until he was 84 years old.

Ken is survived by his wife, Jeane, of Detroit Lakes; Mike (Betty) of White Bear Lake, Sue Lorentz of Detroit Lakes, Fran (Leroy) Herauf of Rosanky, Texas, Kevin of Fridley, Minn., Ann (Mike) Johnson of Park Rapids, and Peter and James of Detroit Lakes; one sister: Margaret Utecht of Stillwater, along with 13 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.

Ken is preceded in death by his son; Kenneth Utecht Jr; one brother: Bob; sister-in-law: Donna Utecht; one sister: Mary Jane, and brother-in-law: Cloyde Pierce.

Memories of Kenneth can be shared online at

David Donehower Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.