Posted by: roamingolivia | March 2, 2011

A tribute to Kenneth Precure

My long-term family friend Kenneth Precure died at the end of last month, and I just found out this week. It’s been sitting in the back of my mind since the beginning of the week. It would be ludicrous to say we were close, since I’ve been living away from West Texas since 1999 and away from the US more or less since 2002. But he has been a part of my life since I was born.

He and his wife Marjorie were my grandparents’ best friends, and I grew up sitting at a kitchen table across from him, both of us nursing the cups of coffee that typify the West Texas household, and especially my grandmother’s. As the oldest child in my immediate family and second-oldest grandchild, I spent more time on the grown-ups’ table than my siblings, two of whom would still be on the kids’ table if the whole clan got together again. I never minded sitting with the adults, and I think it gave me the love for good dinner conversations I have now.

At the shallowest level, Kenneth was one of the best conversationalists. He was hilarious, and he always had a wide range of interesting opinions on everything. I think he was one of the people who, apropos of nothing, asked my (British) boyfriend, “Are you an environmentalist?”, upon meeting him in Muleshoe a few years ago. I didn’t agree much with his opinions, particularly on foreign policy, but they had a logical purity to them, in their emphasis of “realist” power politics. I would have loved to discuss his take on the Arab revolt, for example.

But the reason I am thinking about him this week goes beyond those shallow memories. He was a genuinely caring person, interested in everyone around him, asking their opinions, learning from others, treating his wife with love and respect, and inspiringly full of surprises every time you talked to him. One of the last times I saw him, he told me he had written and recorded some cowboy songs. I said I wanted a copy, and he came back to give me one. I’ve been listening to them today as well. It surprised me that someone at his age would still have these hobbies, and still pursue them.

I haven’t had a lot of time to chase down stories about Kenneth, but I’ve talked to the family members who email. My dad’s strongest memory is the way that Kenneth would use the sitting-around-the-table time, where the men like my granddad and great-uncle Oscar and others discussed “man” things (probably the farm, apparently he was interested in getting better seed grain, I have no idea). Of course Kenneth talked about those things with them, but he also was happy to talk about his faith and God and the Bible – something that wasn’t usually part of normal conversation. My dad admires him for that.

All of these memories feel far away now. My grandmother moved out of the farm house a long time ago, and has now reached a deal to sell the farm. I visited with my siblings last Christmas, when my I was back for my great-aunt’s funeral, but I didn’t make it out there last time. There are always comings and goings, but losing these ties makes me feel far away. I guess I am.

Here are two songs from Kenneth’s cowboy album, Turn the Rangers Loose. This is Big Gus, the first song on it. And this is the last, A Horse You Had To Ride, where you can hear his voice telling you a story.


(On a light note: He has one of the weirdest, most mismatched results on Google image search I have ever seen.)



  1. Very nice Olivia!

  2. Well penned Olivia. Thank you for that perspective. Your grandmother is still a monumental influence in our lives and we have fond memories of the entire Allison famiy.

  3. Olivia, I remember you several times while visiting with the Allison families growing up. I believe I even heard you play a Beethoven piece on the piano for your grandmother and all of the visitors.. I enjoyed your tribute to my father.
    My cousin, Donna Precure-Rose, is always surfing the internet and found your blog. She shared it with the family.
    I was particularly moved when you mentioned my father’s faith and his love. Although he was passionate about many things besides country music, the Texas Rangers, and farming; it was his faith that defined his life. His memorial service was all about his love for Christ, (with plenty of humorous Kenneth stories.) One of the pastors that spoke at his service, Glen Harlin, wanted us to know that Kenneth had supported a Russian missionary for years; Charles Singer. I contacted Charles’s grandson, Chuck Kelley. Chuck started a ministry that then combined with his grandfather’s ministry to the Russian people. It is still very active and strong under the name Bridge Builders International.
    When Dad’s spirit departed this earth on February 21st, approximately 4:23 am, I was in my bed in Carrollton having a very vivid dream with Daddy specifically talking to me from a hospital bed. What I remember was this:”the things that seem insignificant-will show themselves to be the most significant.” I don’t yet know what that means or don’t anticipate that I will understand it until I also meet my Dad in heaven. I do know that it is no accident that you wrote this blog about him and that he influenced your life. I also think I know what his opinion of the Arab conflict would be….I am thankful Dad was active and engaged in the world events and that he found the need to contribute to the very real needs of the innocent, hurting and helpless. There is a quote from C.S. Lewis that I think sums this up, “How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerors have been: how gloriously different are the saints.”
    God bless you and your family for the love that we have all shared together here on this earth.

  4. I just found out about Kenneth’s death. My father worked for Kenneth for many years while we were growing up in Muleshoe, Texas. My father always admired Kenneth and they communicated somehow because my father spoke only a few words in English and Kenneth knew some words in Spanish.
    I never knew the specifics of the stories my father would tell my mother but I do remember my father laughing while relating the stories to my mother. He was generous to our family as well. I know that my father and Kenneth shared a love of the land and enjoyed every aspect of farming.
    I also remember being introduced to “politics” through the Precure family. When I was 19 or 20 years old, I became involved in non traditional politics and Kenneth came to our house to address that issue. That discussion is still a vivid memory. I realized later that it was because he cared. He loved our country and I know he cared about our family.
    I have such fond memories of living on the Precure property and I will forever remember his smiling blue eyes.
    May he rest in peace.

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