Obituaries » Kenneth Alfred Seals

Kenneth Alfred Seals

June 21, 2021

Kenneth Alfred Seals of Lynchburg, VA, formerly of Edenton, NC, Yorktown, VA and Hampton, VA, died Monday, June 21, 2021, following a stroke. He was 87. At the time of his death, Ken was holding hands with his wife, Carolyn McLean Cumming Seals, and was embraced by his four loving children, Katherine Marie Seals, Thomas Alfred Seals, Martha Seals Rombach, and Robert McLean Seals, as well as his son-in-law Mike Rombach, his daughter-in-law, Lisa Seals, and his grandson, Porter. Ken was preceded in death by his mother Marie Mendel Seals and father Thomas Alfred Seals, who passed away when Ken was only 11. Ken, or Kenny, as many family and friends knew him, was born on March 19, 1934 and raised in Hampton, Virginia. He attended Hampton High School, where, as a record-setting Crabber running back, he earned All-American honors–and won over Carolyn, the cheerleader he cherished until his final breath. The two married on March 29, 1954. Ken attended Randolph-Macon College, NASA Apprentice School and Old Dominion University. Highlights of Ken’s 34 consecutive years at NASA as an Aerospace Engineering Technician included working on the lunar landing module and the stealth bomber and receiving the Farter of the Year Award. The young couple purchased their tiny first home on Darby Avenue in Hampton. Later, Ken designed and built their own home in Yorktown’s Edgehill neighborhood, where they spent 28 years raising their four children, Kathy, Tommy, Martha, and Bobby–and a houseful of dogs, cats, hamsters, and fish. This is also where Ken launched his first archery business, S & S Archery, producing custom scopes; later operating an archery storefront along Route 17, and opening indoor archery lanes and pro shop in Newport News–all while still working a 40-hour week at NASA. In 1989, retirement called; Ken and Carolyn followed friends to Edenton, NC, a small waterfront community along the Chowan River. Ken sawed and hammered while Carolyn stained and painted, working side-by-side to construct their dream retirement home. Over the years, Ken added an oversized garage and expanded his woodworking shop, the place where he perfected his carving skills, crafted cabinets and crosses, and produced the Christmas ornaments his family will treasure always. During their 28 years in Edenton, Ken and Carolyn cultivated lasting friendships with neighbors, were members of historic St. Anne’s Catholic Church, maintained a beautifully landscaped yard and flowering gardens, fed thousands of songbirds, and photographed scores of sunsets, never taking even one for granted. Everyone who knew Ken would agree that physical fitness and a lifelong connection to the great outdoors were constants in his life. He grew up hunting with his cousins and Uncle Joe, and passed this passion onto his own two sons. Whether he was scuba diving, fishing, shooting archery, camping, walking in the woods, bike riding, watching snow fall, or feeding the assorted critters that frequented his handmade feeding stations, Ken delighted in nature–and he instilled that same love of nature in his children and grandchildren. Besides being an outdoorsman, woodworker, athlete, and family man, Ken was also a musician. He was gifted his first saxophone at age 11, played in a dance band for many years, and continued to “blow his horn” his entire life, even while Alzheimer’s was stealing his memories. In fact, he regularly played his horn at Pearls of Life, where he resided for the past two years, to the delight of residents and staff alike. The day before he passed, Ken told Mike, his son-in-law, that the song he still most played was, “I Can’t Stop Loving You” performed by Boots Randolph, his musical hero. When his own children were growing up, Ken was strict with them, but that changed seemingly overnight when grandchildren began arriving. He secretly filled sippy cups with Pepsi, designed countless wooden toys, built mini Jeeps, and insisted on hug after hug before every departure. Annually, Ken and Carolyn hosted a weeklong cabin getaway for family members, giving Granddaddy ample time for joke-telling, fart machines, and walks in the woods. Kenneth Alfred Seals is survived by his high school sweetheart and wife of 67 years, Carolyn McLean Seals; his four children and their partners: Kathy Seals (Oakley Drumheller), Tom Seals (Lisa), Martha Rombach (Mike), and Bob Seals (Angie Brandt); 14 grandchildren: Scott Drumheller, Crystal Seals Murphy (Tyson), Kenneth Seals (Christina Saenz), Devin Drumheller, Daron Drumheller Hewitt (Ryan), Shelby Rombach, Thomas Seals (Mimi), Cullen Rombach, Bryan Rombach, Cady Rombach, Porter Seals, Sean Rombach, Wyatt Seals and Scarlett Seals; and four great-grandchildren (with more to come): Katherine, Madeline, and Elizabeth Murphy and Everett Seals. A Mass of the Resurrection is planned for Ken at 12 noon on Friday, July 9 at St. Thomas More Roman Catholic Church, 3015 Roundelay Road, Lynchburg, VA, where he attended Mass weekly. Ken loved wearing his brightly colored, boldly printed shirts! In his honor, please wear colorful, comfortable apparel! Mass will be followed by lunch and fellowship in More Hall; please join us! If you are unable to attend, please watch the livestream on the St. Thomas More Lynchburg Facebook page. In lieu of flowers, we would welcome donations to the Alzheimer’s Association or of stocking stuffers for all age children for the St. Thomas More Angel Tree (collection bin will be available) or to a charity of your choosing.

Condolences & Tributes

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Carolyn, I was so sorry to hear of Ken's passing. We were pretty good buddies while we were both at NASA. My best to you and the children.

Posted by Charlie Davidson on July 4, 2021

Words can't express the way I feel at the loss of a dear friend and skinny dipping in the river buddy! We built side by side and without Kenny's redrawing and his and Carolyn's help to build this home I live in, well it wouldn't be here is all I can say. I just had the joy of visiting with Carolyn, Kathy, Oakley, Daron, and Ryan at the OBX where they were staying when Kenny had the stroke. Carolyn and I discussed me coming to see Kenny in the near future, Now I'll never get to hear his fart jokes again! Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with the whole wonderful Seals Family. All my love, Bobbi

Posted by Bobbi Woolwine on June 29, 2021

This is Thomas's grandfather's obituary. He lived an incredible life. Thomas and I left him and the family from the hospital on his final Monday afternoon. We're heading to the funeral on 09July2021.

Posted by Mimi on June 29, 2021

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