August 22, 2011

Dear Nancee and Bill:

I think I speak for all the Isely clan that came out of Kansas, descending from Christian Isely, that we greatly appreciate what you were able to do for Kenneth that we did not. While many of us in Kenneth's generation and the next had some connection to Wichita, we were dispersed after World War II from Oregon and California to Florida and Maine as well as states in between. Kenneth, his brother and their Aunt Alice were the only ones to maintain an Isely presence in Wichita. For many of us who had a chance to get back to Wichita on occasion, they were a center where we could keep track of our many Isely relatives. Over half a century I probably got back only half a dozen times. I did talk to Kenneth last year after his by-pass operation.

My first vivid memory of the Isely clan was when most of them got together in 1935 at Elise Isely's funeral.. I looked up to Kenneth during early World War II as an older brother I never had . He and his brother taught me to drive in 1936 and my interest in going into engineering was influenced by their activities. Talking with my Nephew, John Mattox, who keeps up the Isely web site, we estimate Kenneth was probably the last of his generation, although there might be one other left in Arkansas or Oregon.

We thank you again, Best regards, William Henry Isely, Durham NC.
Posted by John Mattox




August 21, 2011

Kenny was my skating coach when I was a young boy. He saw me skating at a public session, and thought I had potential. It was wonderful working with him, learning my "school figures" at the age of ten in the small rink he built for his back yard. I competed in the 1972 Southwest Regional Championships under his direction. He was always a friend to my family and hand-delivered his annual skating calendar to our door. I reunited with Kenny in 2006 and actually took a lesson from him in Wichita before competing in the US Adult Championships that year. He was such an inspiration and would still put on his skates and even skate backward around the ice near the age of 90 at that time. He was the oldest living member of the US Figure Skating Association, and will be missed by so many of us. Love and good wishes...

Andy Schell,

San Diego, California



August 20, 2011

Kenneth Isely was my mother's first cousin. I saw him often when we visited Auntie Alice. One night when I was about eleven he drove me out to a road at the end of the runway where we sat right under airplanes taking off. It was so loud and exciting!

After falling down many times, I decided that ice skating was not for me.

I am glad I could share his two loves a tiny bit.

Barbara Isely,

Denton, Texas



August 19, 2011
I'm also a cousin of Kenneth's (twice removed - my Grandfather, Merrill Isely, was his actual cousin). I've been working with Kenneth for about eight years now on the Isely Information Project which is on-line at

Kenneth has been a wonderful source of information and encouragement.

I've posted the first 12 minutes of a video that he produced and narrates about the Isely Family in Wichita at
(I expect that you will need to cut and paste this into a browser to view it).

Kenneth's life has been an inspiration. He will be missed.


John Mattox,

Fayetteville, North Carolina



August 19, 2011

Like Sylvia, I remember visiting Kenneth many times as a child. (We were cousins, too!) I believe he was probably the last living cousin of his generation. He had stored my great-grandparents' (his grandparents') harvest-style oak dining table at his house for many years but graciously gave it to my family in the 1970s to restore and use -- which we have done to this very day. Sweet soul -- love from Texas.

Susan Cooksey,

Denton, Texas



August 19, 2011

I first met Kenneth when I was a little girl, back when my father and mother took my brother Jim and me to visit "Auntie Alice" (Isely). When I learned that Kenneth was a real ice-skater, I was so inspired by the enchantment of it all that my heart lit up and soared as I watched him skim effortlessly across the ice. And, best of all, we were cousins!! I see what an amazing, gifted, and generous life-changer he was for so many people throughout his life . . . a beautiful soul, distinctive and so dedicated to his life's purpose. Eventually my family moved from Kansas to Washington state, but I have always retained in my heart the delightful and magical imprint of Kenneth's beautiful energy and spirit. Thank you, Kenneth, for helping dreams to come true.

Sylvia Isely-Aguilera,

San Diego, California



August 19, 2011

For years I went to Kenny to have my hockey skates sharpened in his rink in the back yard. He was the best at it ever!

Gary Wade,

Derby, Kansas



August 18, 2011

During the 4ish years our family lived in Wichita(March '89 - May '93), our daughter was able to complete several figures and freestyle tests,and compete and place first in a competition in Omaha. Such an interesting man! We learned how to make an ice rink for a holiday show. Through Kenny we met national judges and notables such as Scott Hamilton and Brian Orser. We marveled at his home made Zamboni( a childs' tricycle/lawnmower) and his rig for learning jumps and his method of catching wasps with a vacuum. Every Christmas we have received a calendar from Kenny with information he gathered about skaters of the past. Kenny was the definition of a wonderful eccentric who absolutely enriched our lives. We remember him fondly.

Rosemary Keough,

Las Vegas, Nevada




August 18, 2011

Kenny worked with my father in designing the ice rink built in west Wichita. He was truly gifted. I remember him trying to teach me to ice skate in his little practice rink. He never succeeded, but I will never forget him. Rest in Peace

Michele Graham,

Derby, Kansas