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Kenneth Candelaria

Kenneth R. Candelaria, aka “Papa Smurf,” 58, of Menomonie passed away Thursday, March 14, 2019, as the result of an auto accident. He is officially playing his big gig in the sky.

Ken was born on Halloween 1960 in Holbrook, AZ to Raymond and Rachel (Gallegos) Candelaria. He graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in Barstow, CA in 1978.

In 1995, Ken moved to Wisconsin where he worked as an Environmental Health and Safety Director for U.W. Oshkosh for five years before retiring. He was an extremely talented musician from a very young age. He played in bands from “Wicked Lester” to “Denied” and tried to thrill them all. Whether you loved him or hated him you'll never forget him, but he loved them all. As long as we remember him, he will always be in our hearts.

Ken is survived by the love of his life, his wife, Alisa Lewis-Candelaria; daughter, Melinda (Mikeal Sr.) Cummins; son, Robert Esquibel; grandchildren, Mikeal Jr. (Jesali Kuehl), Dominick Marefky, Brianna Esquibel and Monett Cummins; brothers, Mark Gallegos and Shawn Matty; sisters, Lynn Matty and Carla Gabaldon; an aunt, Eleanor Young; and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins.

A celebration of Ken's life will be held at a later date. Olson Funeral Home in Menomonie is assisting the family.

To share a memory, please visit obituaries at www.olsonfuneral.com.

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