Kenneth Allen Nance
3/4/1960 - 4/22/2003

by Paul Ridenour

Ken Nance was a "comedian" and a great friend.  So glad I knew him for 28 years.  He became a Christian about four years before he died.  He is in Heaven now.  At his burial, two of his friends (Mark Bowers and Duncan Ballantine) played "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes.  All of his friends were there at his uncle's house in east Texas, where he loved to visit.
I kept thinking - "He would have loved it all."

Ken Nance, 1978

Kenneth Nance, 2001

Three good friends in high school - John Simmons, Paul Ridenour, and Ken Nance

Ken on the right


Ken wearing Paul's shirt

Ken Nance, Laura Warren, Steve Ashmore, Paul Ridenour, Mrs. Grace Clay, Dawn Williams, and Mark McKinnon (1978)

Kenneth Nance, Sara O'Brien, Dottie Doyen, and Paul Ridenour at John Simmons' wedding circa 1981

With Sara O'Brien 

left and behind

David Ridenour, Jeff McAdams, Ken Nance, Paul Ridenour

John Simmons, Ken Nance, and Paul Ridenour singing "Feliz Navidad"
as Jose Feliciano and the Spanish Flies

Ken Nance, John Simmons, and David Ridenour

Mike Grooms, Eric Dickerson, Barbi Williams, Randy Balthrop, James Ivey, and Ken Nance as Stewpot in "South Pacific"



with Sara O'Brien

John, Ken, and Paul in "Mash" doing the "Monster Mash"

How about that smile?

1978 Prom - Ken Nance and Mary Jan Hall

Ken Nance, John Simmons, Paul Ridenour

Known as "Nance, Simmons, Ridenour"  - some students called us the Stud Trio while some teachers called us the Terrible Trio

Bricks in the Bryan Adams High School wall near the office

Ken Nance, Shawneen Hebert, and Paul Ridenour (1980)

Ken Nance and Janet Reynolds Asher

Ken with his last love Darla and his dog Bonnie

Rosewood Cemetery, Rosewood, Texas

(Spoken at Ken’s burial)

I'd like to tell you what I know about Ken Nance from high school and in recent years.

First of all - Ken Nance was a good looking guy.  Several girls I know have a special place in their hearts for him.

Email from Barbie Williams -

"Ken was always such a happy sweet guy. Who would believe that such a handsome young man, who always made life fun back in high school, would be gone so quickly? No matter where we are in our adult lives, I know that I carry Ken with me everywhere.  I can't thank Ken enough for the love and fun."

Kenneth Nance was a comedian - that is what I remember most - He made me laugh the first time he spoke to me - we were friends ever since.

Ken Nance was a good actor - he received "special recognition" at a competition for his performance.

Ken Nance was an athlete - He was a good soccer player. He had strong legs. The first time John and I went snow skiing with Ken, he picked it up as well as anyone I have ever seen.

Ken Nance was a musician -

The pastor thinks about that old shoeshine box - I think about Ken and his ukulele.

Ken Nance could play the snare drum.  He played in a bagpipe band.

Kenneth was a good singer.

Yes, Ken Nance was shy. However, he was onstage all of the time in high school for plays, musicals, and talent shows.  He usually had a comedic role. He came alive on stage and was just hysterical.  He told me recently that John and I forced him to not be shy because of all of the activities we were involved in.

One time, John, Ken, and I were going to perform a song in Spanish for the Spanish classes with our guitars. We actually "practiced" so we would not make any mistakes. However, you could not prepare for what Ken might do. While we were singing, he threw his sombrero on the floor, and starting dancing the flamenco around it. It was hysterical.

Since Ken had musical talent and had rhythm, in 1978, he was quite the "disco" dancer.  I have a little of him on video, and he is hilarious.

Ken Nance loved music, especially old music. In the summer of 1978, Ken Nance and I saw the movie "Grease" five times.

Last year, my wife and I invited him to a bluegrass concert [Robin Macy and Big Twang] and I have never seen Ken so happy.

When Kenneth moved to Cleburne, I was not happy about it.  However, God was in control of his life.

When I saw Ken these last few years, he was weak, he never ate much, he got sick a lot, and his legs were no longer strong. However, his spirit was the same and he still had that dry sense of humor.

Ken called me and said he was thinking about going to a Bible study on Thursday nights.  I did not hear from him for awhile, but then he called and said that he had become a Christian.  He thanked me and all those others in his life that took him to church and talked to him about the Lord.  Ken knows the peace that passes all understanding and that "All things work for good to those who love the Lord, and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28)."

Just like the pastor said - Ken Nance is in Heaven.  The Angels celebrated Ken when he gave his life to the Lord, and when Ken died, they had a banquet for him.

Ken Nance is no longer sick and he is living in a mansion.

Right now, he is probably playing the ukulele and cracking up some angels.

I want to thank the pastor and church for being such a big influence on Ken and in helping him in his walk with the Lord.  He loved his church, his pastor, and singing in the choir.  Ken could never stay a full week in east Texas because he did not like missing Wednesday night choir.

Ken loved his family - he loved his nephews.  The #1 woman in his life was his mom.  I thought Ken was funny, he thought his mom was funny. Ken always tried to eat with her once a week.  A few weeks ago, John, and I ate with them.  We got to play our guitars and ukulele and sing together for the first time in many years.  It was wonderful.

Several times Ken was at my house late and I wanted him to spend the night instead of driving back to Cleburne. He would never do it because he was afraid that he might get sick and he had to get back to his other love in his life - his dog Bonnie.  He had that dog trained. He would say "Bonnie - Washington Redskins" and Bonnie would growl. He would say "Dallas Cowboys." Bonnie would bark excitedly.

I talked to Ken a few days before he died and he was excited for John and his new wife and new house. Ken was looking forward to our high school reunion this summer.

Ken Nance was eight days older than I and he rarely failed to send me a birthday card, even though I had forgotten to send him one.

I'd like to read an email from Steve Ashmore.  Steve was our class president and was in choir with Ken.

Thank you for the message on Ken Nance.  The name alone brings back so many fond memories. What a great smile and infectious positive attitude Ken always seemed to have. Now he is held closely in the arms of our loving Savior."

And I will end with this –

"Life is a gift from God, and Kenneth Allen Nance, was a wonderful gift."

-         Paul Ridenour
April 28, 2003