Cover photo for Kenneth Lee Reile's Obituary
Kenneth Lee Reile Profile Photo
1953 Kenneth 2024

Kenneth Lee Reile

September 21, 1953 — March 1, 2024

Port Charlotte, FL formerly Moorhead, MN

Kenneth Lee Reile, 70, passed away peacefully in his sleep at home in Port Charlotte, FL. on March 1st, 2024, after a long struggle with complications of cancer. Ken was born September 21st, 1953, in Fargo, ND, to Reinhold and Ruth (Huether) Reile.

Ken attended Lewis and Clark Elementary School before continuing his education at Fargo South High School, graduating in 1972. His early years were marked by resilience, surviving the 1957 Golden Ridge tornado that destroyed their house, leaving only the kitchen cabinets, the Kirby vacuum cleaner on the living room floor, and a pair of pants in the tree. Three of their delivery trucks were destroyed.

      Growing up, Ken immersed himself in baseball with the Lewis and Clark team and neighborhood friends. His teammates would say, “Let Ken pitch.” He threw the ball so hard, it would either be a strike or hit them! He also tried his skills with boxing and Lou Grant took him under his wing for a time.  

      Ken would help his father, Reinhold and brother, Roger sorting Avon in their family’s spacious garage.  They prepared it to be delivered to households all over town, which laid the foundation for their business, Reile’s Transfer & Delivery Inc., followed by deliveries from Herbst, DeLandrecies, McShanes, Sears and others. The weekends were spent at their lake cabin on Pikes Bay, Big Cormorant Lake since 1961. Ken had many memories of family and friend gatherings with tubing, skiing and fishing. He was proud to say with a smile, they had the fastest boat on the lake at that time.

      On May 28th of 1972, Ken voluntarily enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving for 3 years. Stationed at Fort Knox for boot camp and later served with B Company, 25th Aviation Battalion as a clerk typist and jeep driver at Wheeler Air Force Base, housed at Schofield Barracks in Oahu, Hawaii. Ken was also on the Army boxing team, where they traveled from island to island for matches. His company flew UH-1H (Huey) and Cobra helicopters.  Although always prepared for Vietnam, he never saw combat there, instead he experienced the thrill of riding in the Cobra helicopter. He earned the National Defense Service Medal for Sharpshooter (Rifle). Ken also served on the Honor Guard as rifleman for the 21-gun salute. He had a few jobs to earn enough money to get Ginger over there. He was named the “Soldier of the Month” at least 3 times, which earned him a 3-day pass, and he would use this pass when Ginger arrived (he was always thinking ahead). He was a dishwasher at Doc and Eve’s (he ate there a lot) in Wahiawa for a while. He also cleaned the Cessna 150 and 172 airplanes at the Aero Club (Flight School) at Wheeler Flightline.

      Ken married Ginger Tweten on August 18th, 1973, at St. Francis de Sales in Moorhead, MN, and moved to Waialua on the North Shore of Oahu, where they built a life together. They had many visitors while living across the road from the beach.

      After his discharge, (he was an E4) in 1975, they returned to Fargo, ND, where Ken continued working for Reile’s Transfer as a truck driver and later as the salesman. Eventually, Ken settled in Moorhead with Ginger and their three children, Brandon, Rachelle and Shawn. They enjoyed their volleyball team called 6 Pack Attack, bowling league and later their Whist Card Club of many friends, taking turns hosting the monthly event. Being members of St. Joseph Church and their children going to school there, Ken volunteered his semi-truck for the annual tree cutting for the Christmas tree sale for the school. Whatever he did, he always made it fun. Ken established the Red River Boxing Club, mentoring numerous youths in the sport for over a decade. They traveled throughout the upper Midwest in a short school bus going to boxing events.

      Throughout his life, Ken found solace in riding Harley motorcycle and playing Texas Hold’em and Omaha, as his father and brother have done all their lives. He was successful in growing the business of Reile’s Transfer and Delivery Inc. with the addition of a Distribution Center for American Crystal Sugar in his leadership role. Ken eventually was sole owner in 2005, expanding through the years with other products.  Ken and Ginger kept busy going to all their children’s activities, which included lots of sports, and later they enjoyed their grandchildren’s activities.  

      Upon settling in Florida, he embraced woodworking. Despite facing challenges like the diagnosis of Squamous Cell Cancer in 2005 and later Base of the Tongue Cancer in 2013, Ken remained resilient, embarking on cross-country Harley trips with Ginger and continuing his hobbies, undeterred by ongoing medical treatments.

      In 2011, Ken and Ginger embarked on a journey across the U.S. in an RV, ultimately finding their slice of paradise in Ft. Myers, FL. A few years later after his treatment of chemo and radiation, they moved to his dream house in Port Charlotte. Despite health setbacks, Ken remained determined, making monthly and sometimes weekly hospital trips while still finding joy in life’s simple pleasures. He had a garage with all his supplies of woodworking materials. He found joy in making little boards out of big boards, he would say. Together they dodged a few hurricanes and enjoyed the nature around them, with plenty of grass to mow. They happily made many trips to MN and CA to visit their families. Ken and Ginger moved from the big house after 7 yrs and relocated to a neighboring house with an empty lot to fulfill his dream building with a woodworking room in it. He built a 50’ x 50’ shop that was attached with a breezeway to the house. Ken spent many happy hours there, days and the middle of the nights organizing, tinkering, and more. The other project was his Lil' Pete (Peterbilt), a 1997 F350 Ford truck that he took the body off and added a mini semi kit, using all the parts except the body for this remake. It is a beauty and he did get to drive it, as the interior was being finished. He lit up like a 7-year-old when he showed his pictures. Ken was always a jokester and had some great one liners that his wit would come up with immediately. His friends would call him infectious, and you would always know when he came into a room.

      Ken was always proud of his family, Ginger (Tweten) Reile, Port Charlotte, FL, Brandon Reile, Port Charlotte, FL, Rachelle (Dustin) Wenzel, Hawley, MN, Shawn (Daniele) Reile, San Diego CA. Five grandchildren will miss their Grandpa, Jada Wenzel, Reagan Wenzel, Dusty Wenzel, Carter Reile and Jordan Reile. Ken was preceded in death by his parents, Reinhold Reile and Ruth (Huether) Reile, Two sister-in-laws, Bonnie (Tweten) Engen, and Sandi Reile. Surviving siblings are Roger Reile and Betty (Harold Jr) Mertz. There are 25 nieces and nephews with two preceded him in death and 38 great nieces and nephews.

To everyone who knew Ken, thank you for your prayers, your love, good laughs and fun times.

Visitation will be Tuesday, July 16, 2024, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church from 5pm – 7pm with a 7pm Prayer Service.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held Wednesday, July 17, 2024, at 10:30am in St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Moorhead, MN.  Interment will be in Fargo National VA Cemetery, Harwood, ND.  

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Kenneth Lee Reile, please visit our flower store.

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