Obituary of Kenneth "Kenny" Dressel
Kenneth Lee “Kenny” “Pogo” Dressel, 64, of Gilbert, Arizona passed away on April 2, 2023. Kenny was born on April 15, 1958, to Joan and Thomas Dressel in Long Beach, California. A proud veteran, Kenny devoted over two decades to his country in the United States Air Force. He married the love of his life, Robin, on May 29, 1982, loving each other steadfastly until his homegoing. His childhood was spent in southern California with his siblings Carleen (Proctor), Chris, and Ted. His love for flying was kindled at age 12 when a friend’s dad took him soaring one afternoon. He played football beginning at the age of 10 and proceeded to be a four-sport athlete in high school. Football was his ticket to admission to the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) where his passion for flying resulted in a pilot slot at Williams AFB in Gilbert, AZ in 1982.
Finishing at the top of his class, Kenny was invited back to be a T-38 Instructor Pilot (IP) remaining at Williams AFB until 1986. Following his stint as a first assignment IP, he was selected to fly the F-16 in 1987 with RTU training just down the road at Luke AFB, AZ. His first operational assignment was at Ramstein AFB, Germany for three years - a wonderful experience for the family. Once again Kenny took on IP duties back in Phoenix at Luke AFB but this time in the F-16 from 1990 through 1994. Following this tour of duty, it was back to Ramstein for an office job as a subject matter expert in the F-16 at the Air Operations Center (AOC) directing fighter plans/operations, which included briefing generals and dignitaries. Kenny took one more operational assignment in the F-16 to Mountain Home AFB, ID. It was a short duty assignment as his professional work ethic garnered him an assignment to the AT-38B at Columbus AFB, MS in 1998 setting him up for command when the squadron moved to Moody AFB, GA in anticipation of standing up the latest variant of the T-38 as the 49th Flying Training Squadron Commander in 1999 through 2001. Kenny was promoted to full colonel as a result of his excellent work standing up the operations group and squadron at Moody along with a distinguished career spanning 24 years ending in 2004.
Kenny began a second career at Southwest Airlines in July 2004 and flew for ten years until June 2014 when he struggled unsuccessfully to pass the annual training. Eighteen months later, he was diagnosed with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 57. During his time in Georgia, he became involved in new passions. Kairos Prison Ministry serves the residents at the maximum security prison in Valdosta, GA. After moving back to Arizona in 2011, he continued with Kairos Prison Ministry and added mission trips to Guatemala with Global Che Ministries. A long-time friend, Tom Hubbard, tempted him with an opportunity to play football and share Christ. He made three trips to China sharing his faith via hosting football camps.
All of his kids witnessed a dad who was up early daily reading his Bible followed by a time of prayer and writing in his journals. As his disease progressed, sometimes there was more sleeping than praying, but he pushed on. When he went into full-time memory care in Sept 2019, he walked in holding Robin’s hand and carrying his Bible in the other. Kenny became a Jesus follower in December of his freshman year at the Academy. He lived a life of integrity, honor, and commitment. He joyfully served his God, proudly served his country, and sacrificially served his family and friends. He lived for God without reservation and modeled what it means to live a life of service before self.
Love God…Love people…that was his target.
Kenny is survived by his wife Robin Linn Dressel, Andy (Megan), Brittney Dillard (Josh), Kayte, McKenna, and Micah, grandchildren - Harper and Henry Kenneth Dillard, Grace, and Cameron Dressel and a host of siblings, nieces, and nephews.
A funeral service will be held at 1:00 pm, May 6, 2023, at One Life Church, 2130 E. University Dr., Mesa, AZ 85213 with visitation at 12:30 pm.
Following the services, a celebration of life will be held at Top Golf (Gilbert location) from 3:00 pm - 7:00 pm with a meal from 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm at 1689 S. San Tan Village Parkway, Gilbert, AZ 85295. Casual dress is encouraged for the Top Golf event. Please RSVP for Top Golf at email@example.com. A small block of rooms (10) is available at Double Tree by Hilton (480-809-4100) across from Top Golf—Kenny Pogo Dressel Memorial.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Kenneth "Kenny" Dressel, please visit Tribute Store