Boyd Kenneth Liles was born October 26, 1916 on Bull Run Creek in North Dakota to Vance and Maude Curl Liles. The family moved to Montana to what was known as the C.A. Thurston Ranch which his grandfather Elmer A. Liles had purchased. This ranch was on the East Fork of Bad Route Creek. Due to bad times and the price of horses the family went back to North Dakota where his brother Maynard was born. In 1921, they moved back to the ranch in Montana where Kenneth’s first year of school was in the bunk house on the ranch. Times were tough and to help the family, his mother raised turkeys and would kill them and pack them in dry ice in barrels and take them to Terry to be shipped by train to Chicago. Kenneth skipped the third grade and went on to graduate from Terry High School in 1934. During high school it was not feasible to drive 25 miles every day so he boarded with another classmate, Gub Clarke, whom remained a lifelong friend.
After graduation he worked with his father and grandfather before returning to North Dakota and working for his Grandfather Curl. His cousin Gerald Curl, was working on the farm also and they remained close until the end. While there, he worked for Audie Douglas. Many Sundays after Kenneth married, the family would drive to Golva to see Gerald and his family, allowing the adults to visit and exchange farming views and letting the children play together.
In May of 1942 he and a neighbor were the first Dawson County men drafted into WWII. He went to Fort Lewis, WA where he received his training. He served with the 161st 26th Division of the Washington National Guard. During his training his mother passed from cancer and the quickest way home was hitchhiking. He spent most of his service time in the Pacific Islands.
After Kenneth’s discharge from the service in 1945 he had $600 and used this money to buy a tractor and a plow. He and his brother Maynard began their farming careers. Kenneth said the greatest smell in the world was that of fresh turned ground in the spring.
On June 8, 1950 he married Ila Marie Ross of Terry, MT. In 1951 their son Kent was born followed by daughters Cella in 1952, Gail in 1957 and Kendra born in 1962. Kenneth and Ila moved into the first log stage stop built between Jordan and Glendive. Additions were added but the original log building served as the bunk house until a new house was built in 1965.
In 1957 a hired man from Hazen, ND, named Leo Schied came to work and stayed until he retired. He became a part of the family. To help pay for the farm Kenneth traveled south to Kansas with his Dad and brothers doing custom combining for several years.
In 1965 at a 50th anniversary party for an aunt and uncle Guy and Iva Curl and his grandmothers birthday party they lost his youngest brother Dick to massive heart attack. His son Kent has been farming and ranching with his Dad since college and a stint in the National Guard. When his daughter Gail moved to Australia he had an opportunity to go visit her there. He always tried to make an annual trip to Utah every year. Ten days before his 90th birthday he suffered a stroke. He was able to live on his own for a year after the stroke until he moved into the Eastern Montana Veterans Home.
He had one true love in his life, Ila whom he lost to cancer in 1986. Preceding him in death also were his parents, brothers Maynard in 1988 and Dick in 1965.
He is survived by his son Kent(Christie) Liles and their children Jason & Laci Jo; his daughters Cella (Darrel) Meek, their child Cameron; and Gail (Terry Thompson) and her children Ryan Metcalf, Tara Metcalf and Jodi (Randy)Dyk; Kendra (Howard) Morse and their sons Dillon and Kale; 5 great grandchildren and 2 yet to be born.
Visitation will begin on Thursday, January 14, 2010 at Stevenson & Sons Funeral Home in Terry. A Prayer service will be held on Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 6:00 p.m. at Stevenson & Sons Funeral Home in Terry. Funeral services will be held on Friday, January 15, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. at the Community Presbyterian Church in Terry. Interment will follow in the family lot of the Prairie County Cemetery in Terry with full military honors.
Published Jan. 13, 2010