Category: Stories

Ken Gast, long time volunteer, retires from NEEDS Board

Husband, father, grandfather, veteran, golfer, longtime Kroger employee and volunteer – these all describe Kenton Gast.

Ken Gast

Born August 15, 1926 in Logansport IN, Kenton had one brother and a sister Karen, who still lives in Bloomington IN.  He joined the Naval Air corps and served in the South Pacific during the last two years of World War II on the USS Shangri-La, but says he “never saw any action.”

On June 7, 1953, Ken married Betty Paulin and they began their 66 year marriage. The couple went on to have five children: Charlie (who lives in Mason), Andy (Leesburg, OH), Mike (Greenhills) and Tony (Finneytown).  They lost a daughter to cancer a few years ago.

Kenton (or Ken, as most of us know him) started with Kroger in a six month manager trainee program.  He went on to become Assistant Manager in Indianapolis for 1 ½ years.  Still in Indianapolis he became Produce Trainer and then Produce Buyer, then Assistant Grocery Merchandiser.  In 1965 he came to Cincinnati as Vice President of Manufacturing Procurement where he retired after a 32 year career.

Kenton and his wife Betty have lived in Kenwood for 50 years.  During that time he served as a deacon at Trinity United Church of Christ and in the early ‘80’s he began volunteering at NEEDS where he has served as vice president and as Director of Pantry Operations and Volunteers, and Director of Desk Operations.

He remembers that at that time Sycamore Jr. high school was the biggest donor to NEEDS followed by Greenhills schools.  He remembers that what was left over was always given to the Freestore Food Bank in Cincinnati. When asked what he sees as the biggest change in NEEDS he says the number of clients we serve.

As far as hobbies, Kenton always enjoyed playing golf.  Now his 11 grandchildren take up has spare time.

When asked what he would like to be remember for, Kent replies with no hesitation ”being kind to others.”

Ken, you’ve got your wish.

Thank you for your long years of service to NEEDS and the families of Cincinnati.

Ann Barfels
NEEDS President