Kenneth James Fetterolf

March 28, 1938 ~ March 29, 2024 (age 86) 86 Years Old


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Kenneth James Fetterolf, 86, of Downingtown, passed away on Friday, March 29, 2024 at Chester County Hospital. He was the husband of Penny (Smith) Fetterolf, sharing nearly 60 years of marriage.

Born March 28, 1938 in Locustdale, Pennsylvania, he was the son of the late Leo and Josephine Jakubowski Fetterolf.  He graduated from Butler Township High School and graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics, and attended Drexel University to work on his Masters.  He was hired by General Electric in the early 1960’s and then Burroughs Corporation to work at Fort Monmouth, NJ where he was fortunate enough to work with German scientists on a project for space missiles.

He proudly served in the US Army Reserve from 1962 – 1968 as a supply specialist. He told funny stories about his military experience, to include annual training at Fort Pickett, Virginia, where his unit was detailed to pick up trash for two weeks straight to prepare barracks for Soldiers deploying to Vietnam, earning the post the name of “Fort Pick-it-up.”

He married Penelope (Penny) Smith in 1964 in Savannah, GA.

Ken began working for Burroughs Corporation, a main-frame computer maker, around 1967. Burroughs promoted him progressively over the years, with numerous assignments in cities to include Philadelphia, Sharon, PA, Mentor, Ohio, Mobile, AL, Tallahassee, FL and Charlotte, NC. Finally, Burroughs (now Unisys) returned Ken to Pennsylvania in 1980 where he settled with his family in Downingtown.  He worked here as an instructor for computer languages until 2000 when he retired from Unisys after 37 years. 

Ken liked to keep busy, so he next worked for Vanguard part-time in Malvern. In 2006, he officially retired and continued to enjoy golfing, gardening, investing, playing piano, watching WWII war movies and following his favorite baseball team, the New York Yankees. He was fortunate to have fond memories of travel to Argentina, Hawaii, Jamaica, California, Texas, on many ship cruises, and national parks in Yellowstone, MT, Yosemite, CA, Lake Tahoe, CA, Key West and Everglades, FL, White Sands and Ruidoso, NM, and the Grand Canyon, AZ. Finally, Ken enjoyed the company of the many cats in the house throughout the years.

One of his favorite activities was golfing with a group of close-knit friends and co-workers in the “Cabin Mode” group, as they called themselves. This “Cabin Classic” group played golf at multiple central PA golf courses for a week in September, annually, with Ken playing golf with them since 1992. During these getaways, Ken and his buddies played golf, enjoyed beer and fine spirits, played cards, and probably ranted about politics.

Ken had a great sense of humor and was memorable for funny phrases he used, and while everyone was not always sure what they meant, they always laughed. His “Dad” jokes were highlighted by timeless themes such as “brother Jack,” and “…meatloaf.” 

He frequently reflected upon the hard-working people in that coal-mining town of Locustdale he grew up with, their unique nicknames, and good times together. Ken and his brother Bob affectionately referred to each other as “schmengies” – meaning “stooges.”

He is survived by his wife, Penny, sons Jason (Arlene) and Brad, and grandchildren Joshua, Ariana, Maximillian, Elise, and brother, Robert, of Springfield, VA.

He was preceded in death by his brother Leo, of Drexel Hill, PA in 1986.

A memorial service will be held on Monday, April 15, 2024 at 11 AM at James Terry Funeral Home, 736 E Lancaster Avenue, Downingtown, PA 19335, to conclude with military honors. Visitation will be from 9:45 – 10:45 AM prior to the service.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Ken's memory to the cat angel network.


April 15, 2024

9:45 AM to 10:45 AM
James J. Terry Funeral Home - Downingtown
736 East Lancaster Avenue
Downingtown, PA 19335

Memorial Service
April 15, 2024

11:00 AM
James J. Terry Funeral Home - Downingtown
736 East Lancaster Avenue
Downingtown, PA 19335


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