Kenneth L. Childress, 87, of Madisonville, passed away peacefully at the Western Kentucky Veterans Center in Hanson, on Saturday, July 17, 2021.

He was born on July 21, 1933, in Providence, to the late Richard Childress and Karrie Ruth (Givens) Childress. Kenneth was a licensed insurance salesman, real estate broker and auctioneer. His passion was singing and listening to gospel music for more than 70 years. He sang with local groups including his own family, The Childress Family. He loved to sing the song “How Great Thou Art” wherever he went, and it was a favorite of all who heard him. Kenneth was a United States Army veteran and was a member of Grapevine Baptist Church in Madisonville.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his son, Shannon Childress; his sister, Margaret Whelan; and three brothers, Harold, Douglas and Lowell.

Survivors include his loving wife of 66 years, Marlene (Fireline); two daughters, Carla Childress and Teresa (Jamey) Lutz; granddaughters, Courtney (Drew) Creal of Nashville, Tennessee, and Amber (Josh) Mitchell, of Madisonville; two great-grandsons, Talan Mitchell and Jayden Travis; and one brother, Howard Childress, of Providence.

His extended family includes the staff of the Western Kentucky Veterans Center in Hanson, who cared for him with great compassion and respect during the final years and days of his life.

Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Thursday, July 22, 2021, at Grapevine Baptist Church with Bro. Danny Fireline and Chaplain “Bro. Bill” Burszynski officiating. Burial will follow at Bethlehem Cemetery with military rites conducted by the Hopkins County Honor Guard. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Barnett-Strother Funeral Home and from 10 a.m. until service time Thursday at the church.

Pallbearers will be Jamey Lutz, Josh Mitchell, Drew Creal, Talan Mitchell, Eric Clark, and Terry Brinkley.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Western Kentucky Veterans Center Program Fund at 926 Veterans Drive, Hanson KY 42413. Envelopes will be made available at the funeral home.

Online condolences may be made to the family at