Cover photo for Kenneth T. Tonkinson's Obituary
Kenneth T. Tonkinson Profile Photo
1940 Kenneth 2024

Kenneth T. Tonkinson

June 10, 1940 — March 20, 2024

Kenneth T. Tonkinson, age 83, passed away on March 20, 2024.  He was born on June 10, 1940, in Flushing, New York, to Reverend C. Frank and Dorothy Tonkinson.  Ken grew up in Pond Eddy, New York, and graduated from Eldred Central High School.   He held a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts from West Virginia Wesleyan University and received his master’s degree in Guidance Counseling from West Virginia University. Ken enjoyed helping others and had a 28-year career as a guidance counselor with the Wappingers Central School District in Wappingers Falls, New York, retiring in June of 1995.

Ken was also proud to serve his country as a member of the Air National Guard having enlisted in 1963 as an airborne radio operator and eventually receiving a direct commission to 2nd Lieutenant.  He served 31 years in both the West Virginia Air National Guard and the New York Air National Guard.  During his last 13 years of military service he held the position of Commanding Officer of the 105th Aerial Port Squadron in support of the C5A mission aircraft assigned to the 105th Military Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard. Lieutenant Colonel Tonkinson was recognized in 1988 by the National Defense Transportation Authority as the Outstanding Reserve Component Transportations Senior Officer of the year.  He has been awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal. Ken credited his family as the key to his military success.   Ken’s wife, Gloria, knew what the Guard meant to him and was there to provide 110 percent support.  One of the proudest moments in his military career was when Gloria and his mother Dot pinned him with a brevet promotion to Colonel.

Ken was a 27-year volunteer bus driver for Castle Point Veteran’s Hospital in Beacon, New York, working with veterans who had suffered severe spinal cord injuries.   Driving these veterans to multiple events including the annual wheelchair national competitions was incredibly rewarding for him.  Ken loved playing golf and enjoyed the fellowship of his many golfing friends. Although not having his Harley to ride in Arizona, it was one of his fondest memories while in New York.  Ken also had his private pilot’s license and would take his sons flying with him often around Dutchess County, New York.

Ken is survived by his wonderful wife Gloria of 38 years, sons Scott Tonkinson and Dr. Gregory Tonkinson, daughter-in-law Jennifer, and sister Lynn Brent. Ken is also survived by an ever-growing family of grandchildren in Arizona including Ryan, Caden and his wife Nicole, Megan and her fiancé Mat, Bailey, Zachary, Malia, and Luke, as well as great-granddaughter Katerina. Ken’s extended family includes his niece Laurie and her husband Frank of New York and nephews Michael Brent and wife Marisa, and Peter John Brent and wife Suki of Florida.

A Memorial Service will be held on Friday, April 5, 2024 at 12:00pm (Noon) at Valley of the Sun Mortuary, 10940 E. Chandler Heights Road, Chandler, AZ 85248.

Condolences may be expressed at Whitney & Murphy Bueler Mortuary,

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

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Friday, April 5, 2024

Starts at 12:00 pm (Mountain (no DST) time)

Valley of the Sun Mortuary & Cemetery

10940 E Chandler Heights Rd, Chandler, AZ 85248

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