Cover photo for Karl Kenneth Kinney's Obituary

Karl Kenneth Kinney

July 25, 1923 — January 23, 2020

Karl Kenneth Kinney

Memorial services for Karl Kenneth Kinney, 96, of Sperry, OK, were held Tuesday, February 4, 2020 at Skiatook Church of Christ in Skiatook, OK. Russell Hill, Minister of Skiatook Church of Christ officiated. Casket bearers were Walter Erwin, Jake Erwin, Matthew Erwin, Blake Eller, Kyler Erwin, Lucas Eller, Tyler Erwin, and Matthew Parker. Honorary Casket bearers were the Merchant Marines of World War II.

He was born on July 25, 1923 in Arkansas City, KS to Larry Fred Kinney and Grace Marie (Hanson) Kinney. Karl went to be with his Lord and Savior on Thursday, January 23, 2020 in Claremore, OK.

He grew up in Tulsa and graduated from Central High School in 1942. He joined the United States Merchant Marines in 1943 to protect his country during WWII. He married Helen Wright Kinney on June 3, 1945. They were married 74 years.

Karl loved being in the band and playing his trombone. He was in the Central High School band and then the Tulsa University Marching band during college. His favorite band was Glenn Miller because he was a trombone player. He also played in a harmonica band. Later in life he played the organ and often entertained at the Organ Club and Helen sang as he played the organ. He was a Mason and a Shriner.

In 1953, Karl and Helen bought a 50-acre farm. They became farmers with cows that Karl milked every day. He also took care of feeding all the animals. This was his home life plus taking care of a wife and two kids, Danny and Kathy. The majority of his working career was for the City of Tulsa Water Department. He became the Chief Inspector and Supervisor in the Water Department before he retired as a 35-year employee. After he retired, he and Helen started traveling around the world. Karl loved to sail since he had been a Merchant Marine. They took many cruises, the longest of which was 35 days and sailed from South America to Bora Bora and ended at New Zealand. They also traveled to many places Karl had been during wartime including Belgium, England, France, Portugal and Spain. They also loved to go to Branson where Karl was once selected from the audience to direct the Lawrence Welk Orchestra. Karl was an avid model train collector and purchased trains as he traveled throughout the world. He had a special barn built just for his fantastic train layout. He loved showing his train sets to all of his grandchildren and great grandchildren. He always drove on all the family vacations whether it was in the 1956 Pontiac, the 1959 Truck with a camper, or the 1963 VW camper. He drove the family all across the United States, as well as to Canada and Mexico. Most important of all was his faith in the Lord. He loved and served the Lord and trained his children to love the Lord. He served as an Elder at the Skiatook Church of Christ. He was a devoted husband and dad who provided for and made sacrifices for his family.

We all love you Dad, Papaw, Karl and we will miss your generosity, your laughter, and the love you gave to all of us.

He is survived by his son, Danny Kinney and his wife Donna of Goochland, VA, his daughter Kathy and husband Walt Erwin of Tulsa, OK, grandchildren, Matt Erwin and wife Niki of Jenks, OK, Holly Erwin Eller and husband Blake of Mounds, OK, Kyler Erwin and wife Ashley of Jenks, OK, Ashley Kinney Parker and husband Matt of Goochland, VA and eight great-grandchildren Tyler, Jake, Avery, and Ellis Erwin, Lucas Eller, Eisley and Benzli Erwin, Madilyn Parker, and two more on the way!

He was preceded in death by his wife, Helen and his parents.

Memorial donations in Karl’s memory may be made to Hope Harbor, Inc. Claremore, OK, or the Skiatook Church of Christ, Skiatook, OK.

Arrangements and services were entrusted to Johnson Funeral Home, Sperry.

Online condolences to the family can be made at

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

Past Services


Monday, February 3, 2020

4:00 - 6:00 pm (Central time)

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Memorial Service

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Starts at 3:00 pm (Central time)

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