Kenneth Paul Giacoletto, American Baptist Foreign Mission Society (ABFMS) alumnus, passed away in Green Lake, Wisconsin, at the age of 77, on August 23, 2022. Ken was born on August 10, 1945 in Milwaukee, WI.
Following high school Ken entered the California State University at Long Beach, California. It was during college in May of 1966 that he accepted Christ and was baptized at the West Lakewood Baptist Church in Lakewood, CA. Rev. Ed Kiefer, Ken’s first pastor, had a major influence on his religious thinking and experience. They spent hours discussing the major themes of the Bible. Another pastor, Rev. Al Lambert, had an impact on Ken as well. Ken felt that Rev. Lambert’s sermons were always very strong Biblical lessons.
In June of 1968 Ken graduated with a Bachelor in Science degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Accounting. On June 21, 1968 Ken married Margaret (Peggy) Lee. At that time, Peggy was studying English and later received her Bachelor in Arts in Applied Linguistics from California State University at Fullerton
Ken’s working career began with the Department of Defense. However, Ken felt that his skills and talents were not being used and in October of 1972 he joined the ABC of the Pacific Southwest as the Business Controller and began by computerizing the region through 1973. In 1975 Ken was involved with refugee resettlement with National Ministries and Church World Service. That was his first exposure to ministry to persons of other cultures. Working in refugee resettlement helped sharpen Ken’s interpersonal skills as well as his gift to persuade others to become involved in ministry. He was promoted to the position of Deputy Executive Minister of the Pacific Southwest. During Ken’s five years in that position, he was involved in church development and evangelism. He was able to use and develop his skills as a team builder. Those gifts were even more developed when Ken became the Estate Planning Representative with the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society in June 1986. Four years later, July 1989, Ken became Representative with the American Baptist Foundation.
Ken and Peggy had talked about foreign mission ministry for some time and then on April 1, 1991 they were appointed by the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society for short-term mission designated to Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo). In mid-April they left Yorba Linda, CA and settled in Kinshasa, Zaire (a city of about 3.5 million people) and began to make the many necessary cultural adjustments.
Ken was involved in three types of ministry while in Zaire. The most important was the training of the treasurer of C.B.Z.O. Secondly, he began work with other C.B.Z.O. institutions upcountry with the purpose of developing good accounting and managements systems in the various C.B.Z.O. institutions. Their first project was the audit and review of operations at the Hospital, Pharmacy, Nurses School and Medical Region at Vanga. The third area that Ken was involved in was in establishing a craft business – Zaire Handicrafts. The main purpose of this effort was to provide jobs for various members of the church who made craft items. Peggy worked with Ken in purchasing craft items from artisans in the community, as well as the churches to help provide jobs for them. It also was to provide a market for the goods being produced by the C.B.Z.O. women. Peggy, served as Interim Director and English instructor at the C.B.Z.O, Centre d’Etudes de Langues et Culture (C.E.L.C.), where they taught beginning through advanced English to all adults, French, Kituba and Lingala classes and basic computer skills.
There was a continuing struggle for power in the Zaire government during this time Ken and Peggy, along with many others, were evacuated from Zaire by the United States Embassy and returned to the United States on September 28, 1991. Ken and Peggy worked for International Ministries and lived in Valley Forge for part of 1992. They returned to Zaire from August through December 1992 before regretfully submitting their resignation from service with ABFMS on December 31, 1993.
Ken was then elected President of the American Baptist Assembly (now known as Green Lake Conference Center), in Green Lake, WI in the spring of 1994. He retired December 31, 2011 after serving 18 amazing and transforming years in that role.
In retirement, Ken served on the Board for Golden Rule Credit Union, Lawsonia Inc. and Cornerstone Ministries. He was a talented woodworker who hand-built a piece of furniture for each of his seven grandchildren. He also loved to travel around the world with family and friends.
Ken is survived by his wife Peggy, two daughters Katrina (Jeffrey) Grewal and Kristal (Ben) Mott, and grandchildren Matthew, Maggie, Abby, Sam, Lizzie, Emma, and Anna.
A celebration of Ken’s life is planned for Sunday, September 25 at 3:00 p.m. followed by dinner in Bauer Dining Room at Green Lake Conference Center. RSVP to JeffGrewal@glcc.org by Friday, September 9 if you are coming to the service and dinner.
If you need a hotel room, call Green Lake Conference Center at (920) 294-3323 or e-mail KaraRobbins@glcc.org and indicate that you are attending the service in order to receive a special rate. The dinner after the service is complementary, but if you would like to purchase a meal ticket to eat in the GLCC dining room for dinner on Saturday the 24th and/or breakfast on Sunday the 25th, please indicate this when you make the reservation. The deadline for reserving meals is Friday, September 9. Meals are not served at GLCC on Sunday the 25th for lunch or Monday the 26th for breakfast so it is our recommendation that you go to Lawsonia’s clubhouse to enjoy eating at Langford’s Pub.
Condolences may be sent to Peggy Giacoletto, 400 Eaton St, Green Lake, WI 54941 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Memorials in Ken’s name may be directed to Green Lake Conference Center, W2511 State Rd 23, Green Lake, WI 54941.