Remembering ‘KB’: Funeral for prominent Cedar City businessman Ken Bettridge slated for Friday

Ken "KB" Bettridge in front of one of his company's trucks, Cedar City, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Bettridge family via Facebook, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — Friends, colleagues and family members of longtime Cedar City resident and business owner Kenneth Bettridge have been sharing many fond remembrances of the man they knew familiarly as “KB.”

Photo of Ken Bettridge courtesy of Southern Utah Mortuary, St. George News / Cedar City News

Bettridge, who died Friday, Dec. 7, at age 75, was well known throughout Southern Utah as an icon in the petroleum distribution business.

Bettridge, a native of Parowan, married the former Georgia Jean Rowley in 1962 in the St. George LDS Temple, his obituary states. In 1976, the couple founded Ken Bettridge Distributing and operated the business for 30 years until selling it to their sons in 2006. The company’s KB Oil trucks and KB Express gas station convenience stores have long been a familiar sight in communities throughout Southern Utah.

“He’s kind of been the stalwart in the trucking business, the petroleum business,” Utah state Sen. Don Ipson told Cedar City News.

Ipson, who also operates a trucking company in St. George, said he and Bettridge worked “side by side in trucks up and down the state.”

“He’s just been a good example of selfless service,” Ipson said. “He’s been a great guy, you know, right to the end. He died trying to help someone, and I think that’s just signifies he was really special. He really is for real.”

Ipson also said Bettridge was renowned for being able to forge lasting interpersonal connections.

“There’s nobody else like him who could build relationships with people,” he said.

Such sentiments were echoed by Bettridge’s longtime colleague and employee, truck driver Rand Williams, who said he has known Bettridge since 1970 and has worked with and for him since 1977.

Williams, who now works taking care of the company’s trucks and providing support to the drivers, called Bettridge “the most generous, honest, hard-working man that I have ever known.”

“He was always concerned with the communities in which he did business and was always a big supporter of sports for all of the surrounding areas from Little League to high school to the local university,” Williams said. “He was always a big supporter of the livestock show every year. He believed in giving back to the community and he was very generous. He was always helping someone and everyone thought that he was their best friend.”

Ken “KB” Bettridge and his wife Georgia (in center) are flanked by their four children, L-R: Stacey Bettridge, Becky Stucker, Angie Lambeth and Rand Bettridge, location and date of photo not specified | Photo courtesy of Bettridge family via Facebook, St. George News / Cedar City News

Williams said the past few years have been hard for Bettridge due to his declining health.

“There were a lot of hard days because he could no longer drive the big tankers any more, and he had a hard time working on his tractors because of the loss of his ability to hold onto tools.”

Williams also mentioned the fact that Bettridge had been helping someone else when he died, “which was no surprise to any of us who knew him.”

“He was a mentor and a great friend to me, and I will be eternally grateful for him and all that he has done for me and my family,” Williams added.

Craig Petersen, another longtime company employee who works at the bulk plant and office, cited Bettridge’s kindness and his personal touch.

“Ken was always kind to people. He had friends wherever he went,” Petersen said. “He did many kind things for people, always thinking of others. … It seemed like no matter where I went people always asked about Ken and wanted to to tell him hello! It has been an honor to work for him and his family for many years.”

Petersen said he once heard Bettridge say to a customer, “Your friendship is more important to me than your business.”

Petersen noted that Bettridge had a hand in all aspects of the family business.

“No matter what type of job needed to be done he would do it, whether it was servicing trucks, changing tires, hauling fuel, or washing trucks. He always made sure his trucks and equipment were safe and functioned properly, he took great pride in having good equipment. More than anything he loved to drive his trucks!”

“He always made sure the work was done and the customer was taken care of,” added Petersen.

Ken “KB” Bettridge and his grandson Cody Bettridge in front of one of the company’s trucks, Cedar City, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Bettridge family via Facebook, St. George News / Cedar City News

Cody Bettridge, one of Ken Bettridge’s grandsons, recently posted a photo of the two of them together in front of one of the company’s semitractor trucks, and wrote the following remembrance:

“This was one of the best days trucking with Grandpa KB!” Cody Bettridge wrote. “You will be missed, but I know you’ll be trucking every mile with me now! Thanks for your unseen acts of service and example of charity. Everyone that knew you was blessed to have you in their life!”

Bettridge was also remembered for his church service. As an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he served in various stake and ward callings, including in bishoprics and on high councils He and his wife Georgia also served for a year as missionaries in the Oregon Portland Mission, from 2011-12.

He also recently served as the grand marshal of the Iron County Fair parade on Labor Day in his home town of Parowan.

Bettridge’s obituary notes that he especially enjoyed watching his grandchildren participate in high school activities. He was also an avid fan of local high school athletic teams, particularly those of Cedar, Canyon View and Parowan high schools. He also enjoyed watching the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Dodgers play on television.

Truck carrying Iron County Fair parade grand marshal Ken Bettridge, Parowan, Utah, Sept. 3, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

In addition to his wife Georgia, Bettridge is survived by their four children (two sons and two daughters), 15 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, plus three siblings and numerous extended family members. Click here to read full obituary.

Funeral services for Bettridge are scheduled for noon Friday at the Cedar West Stake Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 725 South 1100 West, Cedar City. A viewing will be held at the church prior to the services, from 10-11:30 a.m. A viewing will also be held Thursday evening from 5-8 p.m. at Southern Utah Mortuary, 190 North 300 West, Cedar City.

In lieu of flowers, well-wishers are invited to make a donation to the Ken Bettridge charitable account at State Bank of Southern Utah.

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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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