Kevin Eblen, 46, of Beijing, China/Chesterfield, Mo., formerly of Creston, passed away Monday, September 24, 2012 at St. Johns Mercy Medical Center in St. Louis.
Services will be 2:00 p.m. Saturday, September 29, 2012 at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Creston. Burial will be at Summit Cemetery, near Cromwell. Father Ken Halbur, Father Tom Sendein and Father Lazarus Kirigia will officiate. Open visitation will be 2-6:30 p.m. Friday, September 28, 2012, with family receiving friends from 4-6:30 p.m. at the Powers Funeral Home in Creston. There will be a 6:30 p.m. wake service and rosary, conducted by Rev. Monsignor Gerald Stessman.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are to the FFA and China Little Flower Orphanage. Online condolences can be left at www.powersfh.com.
Kevin Eblen was born August 12, 1966 in Creston, Iowa to Donald Joseph Eblen and Carolyn Kay (Graham) Eblen. He grew up in Creston and graduated from Creston High School in 1984 and from Iowa State University in 1990. On September 29, 1990 he was united in marriage to Jacquie Rychnovsky in Lenox, Iowa.
Kevin paved the way for his current high-ranking position with Monsanto, a multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation, by rising through the ranks of FFA in high school. Kevin earned his American FFA degree at the 59th National FFA Convention, where he was Iowa’s candidate for Star Agribusinessman of America. He served as National FFA president in 1986-87 after serving the Iowa FFA Association as secretary and president the prior two years. At the time of his election, Kevin was only the fourth Iowan to be elected National FFA president, and only the 10th Iowan to serve as a National FFA officer. Kevin took a one-year leave of absence from Iowa State University, where he was majoring in public services and administration in agriculture, to travel throughout the nation, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands representing the 430,000 FFA memberships. While he was involved in several activities in high school, including thespians, 4-H and sports, it was his work in FFA under advisor Galen Zumbach that was most valuable for his eventual career in agriculture business.
In an article in the Creston News Advertiser from 2008, when Kevin was surprised to be notified of his induction into the Hall of Fame at Creston High School, Eblen said, “I am certainly honored by it. In reflecting on it, it seems the recognition ought to go to my parents and teachers I had in the community, rather than me. Nonetheless, I am excited about it and we plan on coming. My memories of Creston are fond. There was an unselfish attitude among the teachers, and Larry Osthus was among them. (Principal) Ron Levine and (superintendent) Paul Grumley were also supportive.”
Kevin was a member of the Our Lady of China church in Beijing, China, Saint Clare of Assisi in Ellisville, Mo., worked for Monsanto for 20 years and was currently the President, Monsanto Greater China and a huge advocate for solving world hunger.
Kevin is the loving husband of Jacquie Eblen (Rychnovsky) of Beijing, China/Chesterfield, Mo.; formerly of Prescott, Ia.; loving father of Joseph, Jessilyn, Anthony, and Vincent Eblen; loving son of Don and Carolyn Eblen of Creston; "number one son-in-law" of Jim and Marilyn Rychnovsky of Prescott; loving brother of Joedy (Kevin) Wynn of Corning; Pam (Tim) Gray of Creston; loving brother-in-law of Wayne (Jane) Rychnovsky of Corning, Jayne Braun of Libertyville, Ill.; and Joni (Bill) Taylor of Creston; loving uncle of Brook (Josh Abel) and Josie Krings, Jacquie (Jayrd) Merritt, Jeremy (Jessica) Gray, Lucas (Mariah) Gray; Michelle (Jeff) Potthoff, Andrew Rychnovsky, Judith (Joey) Morgan, Madeline Braun, Steven Braun, Colby Taylor and Jenna Taylor; our loving great-uncle, cousin, colleague and friend to many.
He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Roland and Thelma Eblen, Arno and Helen Graham, Andrew and Mary Rychnovsky, Vernon and Marjorie McKee and his sister in-law Judy Rychnovsky.