Kenneth OCHS (February 6, 1930 - September, 25, 2009)


Part One
Kenneth Phillip Ochs was born in the family home on February 6, 1930, the fourth child of David and Matilda Emma (Strecker) Ochs at Russell, Kansas. He completed his wonderful earthly sojourn on September, 25, 2009, at Colorado Springs Colorado, his spirit now resting with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, as promised by the Christian faith, which was the cornerstone of his life.

Ken grew up in Russell, raised by his father, a pioneer Chevrolet dealer who had sole custody of the Ochs children after divorce, when Ken was six years old. Ken received his formal education in Russell public schools where he graduated as Class Salutatorian participating in music, drama, football, basketball and track. Along with other family members, he worked summers and Saturdays at his father's dealership during World War II when most employees left for service or defense work. He joined Trinity Methodist Church, which in later years he would credit for having a profound effect on his life.

He received his Eagle Scout award in the Fall of 1944, a few months prior to his father's untimely death, after which his sister, Ruth, and her husband, Don Wolfe, lovingly assumed his father's parental role, setting examples and furnishing direction to Ken and brothers, Harlan and Don. In the Fall of 1948 Ken enrolled at the University of Kansas and became a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, which later would induct him into its Hall of Fame. During his Sophomore year Ken was struck by the beauty and charm of Dolores (Dee) Mausolf, an Alpha Delta Phi Sorority girl from Albert, Kansas, (just forty miles from Ken's home), a year later they became engaged, then marrying upon their graduations in 1952. Shortly thereafter, Ken was called to active duty in the U.S. Army during the Korean conflict and served two years as a Commissary Officer. Their first child, Cecilia was born at Fort Riley, Kansas, during this time.

Military service obligation completed, Ken, who had always enjoyed the outdoors, entered into farming and cattle feeding with his father-in-law, Elmer Mausolf. The mid-50s experienced extreme drought and farming provided little returns. In 1956 Ken and Dee decided to join Don and Larry Ochs in opening PDQ Car Wash in Colorado Springs where Ken and Dee had honeymooned and their families had often vacationed. A year later Dee gave birth to their son, Bradley. Ken and Don then bought a small mountain ranch north of Divide, Colorado, and began raising Hereford cattle. In 1958 Harlan joined his brothers in business, which was expanded by adding Acorn Petroleum, Inc. A year later Ochs Brothers bought an irrigated place south of Fountain, Colorado to raise Appaloosa horses. In 1963 Ken and Dee were blessed by the birth of daughter, Amy. The following year Ken joined Larry in commercial real estate brokerage, maintaining his active broker's license until his death. In 1972 Ochs Brothers bought a cattle ranch at Gunnison, which over the years they expanded into one of the largest ranching operation in the area. Three years later, Ken and Dee and the entire family were devastated by the death of twenty-one year old daughter, Cecilia Lynn Ochs, resulting from a reaction to prescription drugs and administered to her in conjunction with routine knee surgery. The love and support of family and many friends helped Ken and Dee through this tragedy. Brad worked at the ranch while going to college and upon graduation he became part-owner and assumed managerial responsibility of the ranch. Despite buying top bulls of popular bloodlines during the 1970's, Ochs Bros. commercial Herefords failed to improve and produce expected results. After research and travel, Ochs Bros. decided to try Canadian Herefords. The infusion of this blood into Ochs Bros. commercial herd produced such improvements in so many ways that a decision was made to become Registered Hereford breeders, and purchases and importations were made from leading Canadian breeders.

In 1982 the private treaty purchase of the world famous James Hole herd was consummated. Two years later the first Ochs Bros. production bull sale resulted in the highest dollar sale average in the world for numbers sold of any breed, a record that continued almost without interruption to the final sale over two decades later. Ochs Bros. pioneered new policies, i.e. terms, guarantees, free delivery, and absentee purchases that were readily accepted by their customers and have now been adopted by most breeders. They became renowned worldwide for their hospitality, honesty, advertising, promotion and after-sale follow-up of their customers. Their annual sales entertained ever-growing crowds at their ranch socials, cookouts and dances and most guests became good friends, many planning their annual vacations around the event. Every attendee received a Christmas card featuring a new Ken Ochs poem and an original illustration and many kept each card as a treasured memento. The ranch was sold in 2002 and the Canadian Herefords were purchased by Stan Harper and moved to New Mexico.

Published in The Gazette from Oct. 2 to Nov. 2, 2009
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