Cover photo for Kenneth E. Vetter's Obituary
Kenneth Vetter

Kenneth E. Vetter

d. March 25, 2024



Kenneth Eugene Vetter

7 Sept 1928 - 25 March 2024

Ken Vetter, 95, of Bakersfield, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on March 25 after injuries suffered from a fall. Ken was born Sept 7, 1928, to rancher Fred and Alyce Vetter in Lindsay CA. After graduating from Lindsay High School, Ken served honorably in the US Navy, 1946-1948, as an electronics technician aboard the USS Lyman K Swenson (DD-729). He attended Stanford University (Delta Chi fraternity) on the GI Bill, before becoming an insurance agent, working independently or as a partner in several successful firms during his career. Becoming active in politics in his 30s, Ken was appointed by Governor (later President) Ronald Reagan to serve on the California Highway Commission.  Ken also served on the Bakersfield City Council.   Eventually, Ken became the longest serving Bakersfield City Police Commissioner, a position he held for 40 years. Ken was also an avid amateur golfer of considerable talent, playing in several Shearson – Lehman Andy Williams Pro-Am tournaments.  Ken had three holes-in-one with two aces in his 80’s and one at the age of 93.  Ken golfed almost daily at Rio Bravo Country Club with his son Jeff and their golf buddies Charles and Manny.  Ken had many friends and he touched many lives.

Ken was preceded in death by his wife of 36 years Betty (nee Ellis), both his parents Fredrick and Alyce Vetter, sisters Deloris, Noreen (Cook), Dorothy (McCasland), Jean (Hedegaard), Berniece (Doan), and brother Garry. He is survived by children Kay (Willy Benjamin, late) of Monterey, Fred (Carol) of Wakefield RI, Steve (Yvette) of Oak Hill VA, Jeff of Bakersfield; spouse Rosanne Abril (m. 2015); grandchildren Emily, Courtney, Alexander, Kenny, Matt, Jack; sister Eyleen (Smith) who recently celebrated her 100th birthday; and many nieces and nephews.

Catholic Mass will be said April 27th at 9:00 am at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, 124 Columbus Street, followed by graveside services, 10:30 am at Greenlawn Cemetery, 3700 River Road, Bakersfield. Reception afterward at Tony’s Firehouse Grill, 10701 Hwy 178, from 11:30 am to 3:00 pm.

In lieu of flowers the family would prefer donations to the Bakersfield Police K9 Unit, Attn: Ryan McWilliams, 1601 Truxtun Ave, Bakersfield CA, 93301.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Kenneth E. Vetter, please visit our flower store.


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