Kenneth L. “Ken” Pickel

Kenneth L. “Ken” Pickel

Kenneth L. “Ken” Pickel, age 85, of Dubuque, IA, completed his earthly journey on September 29, 2023, at UnityPoint Finley Hospital while surrounded by his loving family.  To honor Ken’s life, a Memorial Mass will be held on Friday, October 6, 2023, at 10:30 a.m., at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 3685 County HHH in Kieler, WI, with Rev. Bernard Rott officiating.  Full military honors will be accorded by the Dubuque Marine Corps League along with the active U.S. Army funeral detail following the service.  Per Ken’s wishes, there will be no visitation.  Family and friends are invited to join in food and fellowship at Ken’s Celebration of Life following the mass at Burkey’s Bar and Grill, 10638 Key West Drive in Dubuque.  The Tri-State Cremation Center is humbly serving Ken’s family.


Ken was born on October 4, 1937, in Jamestown Township, WI, a son to Rudolph and Gertrude (Stumpf) Pickel.  He grew up with a strong work ethic and a love for family, friends, and community that never wavered.  After honorably serving his country with the U.S. Army, Ken returned home and eventually met and married the love of his life, Elizabeth “Betty” Burbach.  The couple was blessed with many wonderful years together and 4 children of their own to raise and nurture.  Ken spent over 41 faithful years with the Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Dubuque as he provided for his family at home.  He was the epitome of the American Dream as he started his career with a delivery route, moved into maintenance, and in time became the General Manager before finally moving into retirement.  His company loyalty ran deep and it was well known among his family and friends that if Ken has the opportunity to visit a restaurant or establishment who unfortunately did not serve Coca-Cola, it was very likely that he would be ordering a water and that was going to be his last visit to that location moving forward.


But, Ken was so much more than a company man.  His devotion to his community was continually on display as well.  He volunteered with countless organizations and sat on the boards of Albrecht Acres, Apple Canyon Lake, Moose Lodge, Holy Name, Jamestown Fire Department, as well as the Dubuque Chamber of Commerce just to name a few.  He also generously gave his time and talents to countless events where the U.S. Veterans were involved, whether through fundraising, or simply providing the support and extra effort where it was needed most.  Ken always enjoyed the outdoors as well and any time spent at Apple Canyon, camping over in Bagley, or even a relaxing day of hunting or fishing was considered to be a successful day in his eyes.  And we can’t forget his love for a good euchre hand, or the opportunity to harass any unfortunate Bear’s fan in the vicinity, especially when his Packer’s and Badger’s were winning.  Ken was an amazing husband, father, and grandfather above all and his ability to make friends wherever he went was inspiring to say the least.  The world is truly a much smaller and lesser place today without Ken’s love and light shining brightly within it.  The legacy he leaves behind will definitely help to heal the broken hearts he leaves behind as well in time and we are thankful that he is now entirely free form each and every earthly struggle that he has been facing with such bold bravery over these last years.  Thank you, Ken, for being the best you anyone could ever hope for and may the abundance of memories which you leave behind provide the healing we seek until we all meet again.


Those left behind to cherish the memory of Ken include,

his loving bride of 63 years,

Elizabeth “Betty” Pickel, Dubuque, IA;


his four children,

Jeffrey (Katie) Pickel, Martelle, IA,

Mark (Kathy) Pickel, Hazel Green, WI,

Rhonda (Roger) Schultz, Cary, IL,

and Perry (Lori) Pickel, Dubuque, IA;


his adored grandchildren,

Brianna Pickel, Iowa City, IA,

Emily (Troy) Hutchinson, Waverly, IA,

Alli Pickel, Hazel Green, WI,

Amber Pickel, Hazel Green, WI,

Ashley (Sam) Baker, Fitchburg, WI,

Alicia (Zachary) Plancich, Naperville, IL,

Brittany (Luke) Holmgren, LeGrange, IL,

Nathan (Alison) Pickel, Dubuque, IA,

and Nicholas Pickel, Dubuque, IA;


his great-grandchildren,

Raelyn Baker, Aubrey Baker, Carson Plancich, Jenna Plancich, Riley Plancich, Tyler Plancich, Mia Holmgren, Olivia Holmgren, Winston Pickel, Raegan Pickel, Avery Geisler, Rowan Pickel, Peyton Pickel, and Aislyn Pickel;


along with numerous extended family, friends, and neighbors.


Ken was preceded in death by his parents; his siblings, Carl (Moneta) Pickel, Melvin (Eleanor) Pickel, Ruth (Elmer) Bruun, Elmer (JoAnn) Pickel, LaVern (Luella) Pickel, Hazel Pickel, and Lester Pickel and Rudolph Pickel Jr. in infancy.  


In lieu of flowers, a Kenneth L. Pickel memorial fund has been established.


Ken’s family would like to thank the doctors, nurses and staff at Finley Hospital, and especially his palliative care nurse, Diane, for all of their professional and compassionate care of Ken and his family.  The love and support you offered helped to truly bring a little peace and comfort into these most difficult moments and days and for that we are forever grateful.


Online condolences may be shared with Ken’s family at

Memorial Mass

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church
3685 County HHH, Kieler, Wisconsin, 53812
October 6th, 2023 at 10:30 AM

Celebration of Life

Burkey's Bar and Grill
10638 Key West Drive, Dubuque, Iowa, 52003
October 6th, 2023 at 12:00 PM

3 comments on “Kenneth L. “Ken” Pickel
  1. Jean Horn says:

    When gathering at Burbach/Horn, etc., get togethers, Ken was always so friendly, fun and outgoing…just a very wonderful unforgettable person. My very deepest sympathy to Betty and family.

  2. Betty, Jeff, Mark, Rhonda, Perry and families. I am so sorry to see Kenny(Coke) passed away. He was always so upbeat and friendly whenever I saw him. Your family will be in my thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.

  3. Russ Schwartz says:

    My condolences to the Pickel family and friends. Ken was a great man and a great mentor. He will be missed by all.

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