Weather Forecast


Kenneth "Sarge" John Oliver, Sr.

Kenneth "Sarge" John Oliver, Sr., 93, passed away June 10, 2014, at the Lighthouse of Superior, where he resided for the past three and a half years, surrounded by his family and Lighthouse friends.

Ken was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. Ken was born Oct. 27, 1920, in Superior to Walter and Etta Oliver. He attended Central High School and enlisted in the United States Army after graduation in 1938. During his 21 plus year career he defended this great nation during World War II in the European Theater of Operations including combat in France and Germany. After the end of World War II, Ken returned home, only to be called back into defending his country during the Korean War. Ken served through the duration of both of these wars and was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, the World War II Victory Medal, the American Defense Service Medal first and second award, the Army Commendation Medal, the Korean Service Medal, and the United Nations Service Medal. Ken's other military service carried him around the world with assignments in Panama, Alaska, and post-war Germany. He retired back to his hometown of Superior as a First Sergeant in January of 1962. After retiring from the Army he worked at Reserved Mining in Silver Bay, Minn. for 15 years. Ken was a proud, quiet man who loved watching Packer football games and he enjoyed golfing, drawing military cartoons, kicking up his heels at dances, doing woodworking projects for his family, reading good books, and challenging his brain with crossword puzzles and TV Jeopardy. He was a past member of West Duluth Moose, the Elks and Eagles Club of Superior and was a lifetime member of the VFW and American Legion.

Kenneth was preceded in death by his loving wife, Irene Margaret (Arneson), of 66 years; his parents, Walter Charles and Etta Mae (Marker); his three brothers, Frank (Faith), Chester (Genevieve), and Reinsford (Viola); a daughter-in-law, Janet; and a brother-in-law, Leonard Arneson.

Ken is survived by his brother-in-law, Marvin Arneson (Marie) and a sister-in-law, Patricia. Ken and his wife were blessed with four sons, Kenneth Jr. (Dianna), Michael (Sharon Johnson), William (Kathy Venaas), and Jeffrey (Kelly Murphy); four daughters, Sharon Wilson (Robert), Sandra Mackyol (Brian), Deborah Couch (Jeffrey), and Christine Oliver-Kneebone; 19 grandchildren; 26 great-grandchildren; and nieces, nephews, and friends.

Visitation will be for one hour prior to the celebration of Ken's life held on Tuesday, Aug. 12 at Saint Andrews by the Lake Episcopal Church on Park Point in Duluth at 1 p.m. with a reception immediately after the service in the Great Hall of the church. Rev. Cynthia Peterson-Wlosinski and Rev. Stephen Wlosinski will co-officiate. Military Honors will be accorded by the Duluth Honor Guard. A private graveside service will take place at Greenwood Cemetery in Superior at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, if desired, donations can be made to the DAV Chapter 6.

Arrangements are with Downs Funeral Home, corner of 19th St. and Ogden Ave., Superior. Sign the online guestbook or send condolences at

We will miss "Sarge" dearly but will fondly remember him for his wit, kind heart, his love and devotion to his family and friends, and his service to our country.