Obituary for Kenneth G. Estes Sr.
Caledonia lost another farmer on Monday October 16th. Unc was 83 and is survived by his wife of 59 years, Betty; their son Ken Jr. (Kerry) Estes; daughter Melissa (Dan) Adams; Granddaughter Morgan Adams; brother Robert (Sally) Estes; sister Marilyn (predeceased Sonny) Beck; Nephew Dean (Lisa) Estes, as well as many other nieces and nephews. Kenny was a 6th generation farmer and patriarch of Honey Locust Farms where he lived nearly all of his life. He was an Eagle Scout, served 40 years of the Caledonia Planning Board, 12 years as a member of the CMCS School Board. A passion for rural heritage and preserving that which might be lost from the past, which as a founding member of The Western New York Draft Horse and Pony Club which created and hosted Old Fashion Days; a 40 year tradition for the region. It might be Belgian draft horses that defined him, breeding and raising 100’s of foals and was most proud of his long standing ability to compete with his six horse hitch that he bred, raised and trained. He gave his heart and soul to his family… his Farm and his community.
Friends may join his family for a service October 21st at 3pm and following there will be a celebration of his life, with many stores, laughs and a maybe a few tears until 7:00pm, at Jones Hall, 366 Leicester Rd, Caledonia, NY. In lieu of flowers you may donate to Alzheimer Association , 435 East Henrietta Road, Rochester, NY 14620. or to the Livingston County Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, County Campus, Mt. Morris, NY 14510.
Monday the world may have lost another farmer, our family and friends have lost so much more. It was on August 25, 1934 that Kenneth Glenn Estes was the first born of Robert and Dorothy Estes. Forged early on...his heart was on the farm; learning that regardless of the family moving across the state that a dedication and commitment to care for farm meant travel and sacrifice as his father commuted from Poughkeepsie to Caledonia and back every weekend. It is also the place where he developed his love for the outdoors guided by his father’s passion... he would become an Eagle Scout it is also the place he became a young horseman that in his later years would help define his family. He graduated high school from Arlington in 1951 and Cornell University in 1955. Returning to live and work on the family farm. He chased after many a skirt but it was Elizabeth "Betty" Rogers that would capture his heart and in September of 1958 they married. Not for trying it took them 9 years before they had their first child Kenneth G Estes Jr and another 3 before they were blessed with Melissa. In the late 70's draft horse became a big part of the farm and more over the family opening the door to the world of a draft horse family that would foster some of his greatest friendships and some unforgettable memories and special moments. As our families grew and his desire to always find the perfect nick name it wasn't long before the name he was most known for was Unc... a title that he held near and dear to his heart. You see, that title was just three letters like “Dad” because the reality was that although Ken and Betty had two children of their own, the family dynamic of two brothers operating a family farm Robert and Sally Estes’s children Faline, Roger, Dean and Robin where his children too, much like how he felt about all his nieces and nephews and the countless others he brought under his wing. He loved them all but Elm “Dean” was as close to a son as it could be; in fact it would be likely that many of Ken’s horse friends thought Dean was his son.
Ken had a way about him, as Iva Mckenna said best “He had a sparkle in his eye that revealed the rascal inside of him that made us all smile.” He had this way about him that made you either fall in love with him… or not… Most did! A common theme for his family was this amazing collection of lifelong friends that he brought into their lives, a few of them even turned into wives. Whether they were part of his team showing horses or those that shared his passion for draft horses, for the countless youth he mentored to those who caught the bug later in life that he mentored and be friended. There was never a time he would stop everything to share, to help, offer his opinion or just to talk. His knowledge, his many friends, his family and his giving nature made it so unfair that Alzheimer's would take so much.