Bare Family Stories

Ken's Early Years

Kenneth Bare was born in Winsper, Idaho in 1929 to Curbe Bare and Bessie Craven Bare. His parents were originally from North Carolina.  After Curbe was discharged from the service he married schoolteacher Bessie Craven in 1920.  Shortly after marriage they moved to the Reno Ranch in Clark County Idaho where Curbe worked for Woods Livestock Company and then became the foreman at the Reno Ranch.  Later, they moved to Birch Creek (pronounced crick).

Curbe Bare and Bessie Craven Bare in 1919

Ken’s oldest sibling Herbert was born in Gilmore in 1921, followed by June in Medicine Lodge in 1922.  A sister Marian was born in 1923 but only lived for 8 months before dying of pneumonia.  Next, Clifton was born in 1925, Dot (Doris) was in 1927, Ken in 1929, and baby brother Wayne was born in 1930.  Cliff, Dot, Ken, and Wayne were all born in Winsper, Idaho at the home of midwife Mrs. Thornton. 

Mid-wife Mrs. Thornton's House in Winsper, Idaho

Curbe Bare with Clifton (playing in the dirt), Herbert, and June in Birch Creek around 1926

Curbe Bare and Bessie Craven Bare with Herbert, Clifton, and June with the Cat in approx 1926

Ken's Cousin Hazel Bare (Landacre) holding him in 1929

Tragedy Strikes the Bare Family

In 1931, when Ken was only 2 years old, his mother Bessie died of blood poisoning.  His father decided to move back to North Carolina where family would help raise his children.  Bessie’s two brothers, Gene and Paul Craven traveled to Idaho to help move the family back to North Carolina. Paul took Bessie's body back to North Carolina on the train, and tried to get Dot to go with him, but she wanted to stay with the other kids and her Dad.  Gene went in the car with Curbe and the kids.  Also helping Curbe move were his brother Sid Bare and his wife Grace, who were living in Idaho at the time.

It took a week for them to travel 3,000 miles from Idaho to North Carolina.  This was partially due to the frequent stops they had to made along the way to find someone with a cow so they could buy milk for baby Wayne.  Upon arrival in North Carolina, Dot, June, Ken, and Wayne lived with their maternal grandparents Roan and Maude Craven.  Herbert and Cliford lived with Curbe and his parents Jasper and Mazy Bare. 

Roan and Maude not only raised Curb and Bessie’s four children, they also raised another grandchild Mary Lee whose mother had died when she was very young, and whose father was busy working to support his family.  Also still living in the house were Roan and Maude’s two youngest children Rex and Bill (whose real name was Wilmer Claude).  The house very crowded, and money was tight.  It was a struggle for the grandparents to raise and feed all those kids, and often the kids had to skip Christmas presents.  But Roan and Maude loved the kids and did the best they could under the circumstances. 

Roan Craven and Maude Jones Craven in approx 1950

Not long ago while discussing these years the remark was made to Ken that it was difficult to imagine living in a small house and sharing a bathroom with that many people.  Ken replied, “Sharing a bathroom wasn’t a problem - it was an outhouse and there was plenty of peace and quiet out there.”

In 1937 Ken’s dad, Curbe, was married a second time to Stella Walsh.  In 1937 Aaron Van Buren was born followed by Rachel in 1941. 

Growing up in North Carolina

Even though times were sometimes difficult, Ken has many fond memories of growing up in North Carolina. Sometime in the early to mid 1940s Ken and Cliff started living with their Dad and their grandmother Mazey Bare. Ken helped Curbe with his many business ventures.

Ken remembers how he and his brother Cliff had to start a Model-A without a starter. He said they would hook up two oxen named Bill and Buck to the Model-A and the oxen would drag the car to the top of the hill. Then he and Cliff would jump in the car and drive it to the bottom of the hill to jump start it.

Ken Joins the Army - at a Very Young Age

World War II started in September 1939 when Hitler invaded Poland causing France and Britain to declare war on Germany. The United States joined WW II in December 1941 after the Japanese attacked the naval base at Pearl Harber. Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945, ending the conflict in Europe, but WW II was not yet over. On August 6, 1945 US dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and on August 7th they dropped another atomic bomb on Nagasaki. August 15, 1945 is known as VJ day, but the official end of WW II was on September 2, 1945 when the Japanese officially surrendered. From 1945 to 1949 the US Army occupied Berlin, along with Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union. This was also the time of post-conflict reconstruction in Germany and western Europe.

On November 19, 1945 Ken Bare registered to join the army. He told them he was 18 and listed his birthday as November 19, 1927. When Ken was asked many years later by his kids why the Army didn’t know he was only 16, he replied the Army needed guys to help over in Europe and Germany so badly they didn’t ask questions– as long as you said you were 18 years old they accepted you.  If you look at his draft registration card below you can see when he registered for the Army he was about the same size Kurt is now – or just slightly shorter.

On March 13, 1946, Ken was enlisted into the Army at Fort Bragg.

Asheville Citizen Times Newspaper Article dated April 14, 1946

Ken Bare in the Army approx. 1946

Ken spent most of the next 3 years in Germany. Initially he trained to be a paratrooper. He said he did 7 jumps and sort of liked it, but in between they had to stand guard which he found boring. To finish paratrooper training he would have had to go back to the USA, but he wanted to finish his time in Germany as he liked what his job was there. So, he decided not to be a paratrooper.

Ken was stationed at Bad Tolz. He was a supply driver and transported supplies like whisky and groceries for the Military bases. He also transported people who needed to be taken other places.  Additionally, he helped families of the Military who were moving to other cities by moving their household things, delivering food, etc.  Sometimes he traveled with a convoy and sometimes he traveled by himself.

Ken was stationed close to the Alps, and at that time there was no such thing as maps. He said you had to stop and ask the locals how to get to where you were headed. A lot of roads as well as entire towns were destroyed during WW II. The Autobahn had many bridges that were gone and sometimes they replaced just one-half of the bridge for both sides of traffic.  Ken also said Eisenhower got the idea to build freeways from using the Autobahn.


Ken (in the middle) with two Army buddies around 1947

An Annoyed Looking Woman, Ken Bare, Another Woman, and John Gonzales in Paris around 1948

Ken was honorably discharged from the Army on February 29, 1949 (This was shortly before East Germany officially became a country in October 1949). On March 1, 1949, Ken reenlisted as a reservist with the Army. 

Statement of Service World War II for Kenneth A Bare

Ken heads to California to Make His Fortune – Ends up in Idaho

In 1949, the Appalachian Migration[1] was still underway, and Ken was among the many who left North Carolina for a better life. While waiting as a reservist to be called to serve again in the Army, Ken decided to head west to California to “make his fortune”.  He invited little brother Wayne to join him, so Wayne quit his job and the two of them went to California. Wayne used to joke they were part of the ’49 Gold Rush, just 100 years late!

Ken says they went to California to look jobs on farms. They did find some jobs and worked several places, but they didn’t always have a place to live. So, Ken and Wayne decided to see if they could work in a copper mine in Utah since they knew someone there. They worked for a bit in the mine, and they also worked for a hide tanning outfit. But things were not turning out the way Ken and Wayne had hoped when they moved west.

Ken and Wayne ended up moving to Idaho close to where their sister June was living with her husband Harper Bare. Wayne went to work on a ranch in Howe while Ken worked for Merritt Owsley. Ken also spent quite a bit of time in Mud Lake and Howe visiting relatives.

Ken is Called Back to Active Duty with the Army

In August 1950 Ken Bare was called back as a reservist to active duty for 21 months. He left for Korea from Ft Lewis, Washington, which is a base near Seattle.

Army Assignment Letter dated April 12, 1950

Idaho State Journal Newspaper Article August 22, 1950

Ken was in Korea until sometime towards the end of 1951.  He returned to Idaho but was still on duty as a reservist. We know he was in Idaho because of the multiple newspaper accounts of his visits to Mud Lake, Howe, and Arco that appeared in the Rigby Star Newspaper (which are shown below). On October 15, 1952, Ken was once again honorably discharged from the Army.

Discharged from the Army and Single

Ken has always been a hard worker, but he has also liked to have fun. Although Ken didn’t know it until many years later, and much to his chagrin, his early visits to places like Mud Lake, Arco, and Howe often ended up being reported in the local newspapers. Some of them occurred when he was a back from Korea but still a reservist in the Army, and others occurred after he was discharged from the Army.

In 2020 when his wife Kay showed him some of the newspaper articles detailing his visits to Mud Lake and surrounding areas, he just shook his head. He said he never knew they had news back then in Mud Lake and he was having a hard time figuring out how he made the news. Then, in classic Ken Bare fashion, he said “Why would anyone want to know that much about anyone?”

Following are some of the articles detailing Ken’s adventures in Southeastern Idaho between 1951 and 1953. He says he never lived in Idaho Falls, so he doesn’t know where they came up with that information.

(It is amazing this type of stuff was considered newsworthy at the time, but the local newspapers from those days are full of this type of information. Now it’s pretty amusing ….)


Both articles above were in the Rigby Star Newspaper on December 20, 1951


Rigby Star Newspaper Article January 1, 1952

Ken’s daughter has NEVER seen him dance - not one time in her entire life!. And, all his kids are very well aware he hates loud music. When his daughter remarked to her mother that she was surprised Ken would purposely go to a dance, Kay replied, “He liked girls and liked to be where they were, so dances were a good place”.

Rigby Star Newspaper Article February 1, 1952

Rigby Star Newspaper Article March 6, 1952


Rigby Star Newspaper June 19, 1952

Bobby Bare, Ken Bare and Wayne Bare approx. 1952

Note that Ken is NOT wearing jeans, he's smoking, and his shirt is not tucked in .... in fact, is that a belly shirt?  Who is this guy, are we sure this was Ken?  Oh yeah, he was 23 years old, so that explains a lot!  Grandchildren and great grandchildren can pretend like they didn't see this photo!

Rigby Star Newspaper Article January 31, 1953

Rigby Star Newspaper Article June 4, 1953

Ken’s wife Kay laughs about one story he relayed to her from that time. She said, “He told me a story of taking a girl home to Kilgore. On the way home he got sleepy, so he pulled over, rolled the window down, and dozed off. Later, he was woken up by a cow who had put her head in the window and was drooling on him.”

Ken Meets Kay Jernberg

In 1954 Ken was living in Mud Lake with the Willard family and working for the Chastain family. One day, he was hauling a tractor on a truck. He was going down a ditch bank by the Jernberg house when the tractor tipped off the truck and landed upside down in the ditch. Kay Jernberg happened to be riding a horse moving cattle when she came upon the tractor in the ditch. This was the day when Ken Bare met Kay Jernberg.

Ken Working at Chastains

Ken rode a mortocycle (a Harley Davidson?), and he and Kay frequently went riding on it in the mountains. There is even a rumor around Mud Lake that he spent some time as a motorcycle cop in the area. Ken says that’s not a true story, but over the decades several people in the area have told his children that he did. Ken was very protective of this motorcycle, which in later years resulted in his young kids being severely scolded for “touching his bike”.

Ken on his motorcycle in late 1950s or early 1960s

In the spring of 1956 Ken was Kay Jernberg’s date for her junior prom.

Kay Jernberg with Ken Bare, her date for her junior prom

Ken Bare Marries Kay Jernberg

Ken and Kay were married on July 17, 1956. In later years Ken and Kay’s kids sometimes teased them because of their 10-year age difference. The phrase ‘robbing the cradle” was sometimes used, but Kay was always quick to Ken’s defense saying, “It wasn’t his fault, I pursued him!”

Ken and Kay on their Wedding Day, July 16, 1956

The First Year of Marriage

Ken and Kay went to Moab, Utah on their honeymoon. Ken wanted to show Kay where he had spent some time working in the mines. When Ken and Kay returned from their honeymoon, they moved to the Roundtop Ranger Station, which is in Northern Idaho near Wallace. Ken was still working for Chastains, and they had a contract for work at the Ranger Station.

Kay Bare with her father Dave Jernberg at their trailer house at Roundtop Ranger Station in 1956

There were lots of bears at the ranger station, only most of them were big and furry with big paw and claws. Ken and Kay said everyone who lived at the ranger station often had several sets of paw prints on the sides of their trailer houses. One evening, a cook at the ranger station was walking home – with a bear following him. The cook made it to his trailer without being hurt. If memory serves correctly people who saw him and the bear didn’t want to tell him there was a bear following him for fear the noise and his reaction would upset the bear.

After the work was completed at the ranger station, Chastains had more work for Ken in the forest near Prichard, so Ken and Kay moved to Prichard, Idaho. Their oldest son Kurt was born in January 1957 in the now demolished Providence Hospital in Wallace. Ken, Kay, and baby Kurt remained living in Prichard until August.

Ken with baby Kurt in 1957

For some reason, in February 1957 it was erroneously reported in the Rigby Star Newspaper that Ken, Kay, and baby Kurt were moving to Buhl. A week later another article said they were not moving due to “load restrictions on the highway”, which is an odd statement.  Kay says she thinks they had gone to Mud Lake to visit and doesn't know where they came up with this story about them moving to Buhl because they were still living in Prichard.


February 21, 1957 Article in the Rigby Star Newspaper

February 28, 1957 Article in the Rigby Star Newspaper

Ken and Kay with baby Kurt in 1957

In May 1957, Kay and Kurt went to Mud Lake so Kay could graduate with her class, which was the first graduating class of West Jefferson High School. Kay graduated on May 24th, then she and Kurt went back to Prichard. The newspaper stories about these events had some incorrect details, such as saying that Ken and Kay lived in Wallace and that they had "moved back" when they had just gone to Mud Lake for a visit, but that’s not usual for local stories at this point in time.

May 23, 1957 Article in the Rigby Star Newspaper

May 30, 1957 Article in the Rigby Star Newspaper

May 30, 1957 Article in the Rigby Star Newspaper

Back to the Mud Lake Area for Good

In August 1957, according to the newspaper article below, Ken accepted a job doing road for Peter Kiewit at the AEC (Atomic Energy Site) Site[2], which is now called the INL (Idaho National Laboratory). But Ken says he was still working for Chastains when they moved back to Mud Lake. At any rate, the Bares moved back to Mud Lake the end of August. Their trailer house was set up on the corner of the Chastain’s property next to Mrs. Simmon’s grocery store. There was a log cabin[3] on the property that Kay used as a laundry room that many years later was turned into the Wild Thing Ceramics store.

 August 22, 1957 Article in the Rigby Star Newspaper

In June of 1958 Ken’s and Kay’s daughter Kim was born. Luckily, she was an easy baby as busy Kurt was a handful.


Baby Kim 1958

Sadly, on December 13, 1958 Ken’s father Curbe died in North Carolina.


December 18, 1958 Article in the Rigby Star Newspaper

In late spring of 1959, when Kim was almost one year old, the Bares moved to Howe. They lived there through the next summer. In the fall of 1960 they moved their trailer house back to the corner of the Chastain property. Sometime in 1961 Ken started working as a crane operator at the AEC site.

Ken Was a Small Aircraft Pilot

In addition to having two new children, a wife, and a job at the AEC site, Ken also became a pilot. By the end of 1960 he had his solo flying license. Ken, Bill Cope, and a couple of others purchased a small airplane and enjoyed flying.

January 12, 1961 Article in the Rigby Star Newspaper

However, as often happens in small towns, and probably out of boredom, someone had to cause a problem for Ken and Bill. A man from Howe said they were flying over his house and dropping spit wads on this property, so he filed a charge saying they flew too close to his house. But due to lack of evidence, the charges were dropped. Anyone who knows Ken Bare and the extremely kind and gentle Bill Cope knows this was a ridiculous charge.


February 25, 1962 Article in the Rigby Star Newspaper

But the trouble with the airplane didn’t end there. One day a local boy who had way too much to drink decided he wanted to try to fly a plane. So, without permission he got in Ken’s and Bill’s plane, but wrecked it on the runway trying to take off. The plane was not able to be fixed and for various reasons the plane was not insured. Also, Ken and Bill decided not to prosecute the boy, so the airplane was a total loss. Bill Cope and some others in the area later purchased other planes, but that was the end of being a airplane owner for Ken. However, he maintained his pilot’s license for several years.

Ken and Kay Buy The Property Where They Currently Live

Dave and Cleo Jernberg used have their winter house on the property where Ken and Kay currently live. They had summer house on their ranch near the lake (the actual Mud Lake). However winters on the homestead were tough and in those days the snow was deep and stayed all winter. It was really difficult to get in and out of the property in the winter time, so they also had a winter home.

In 1961 Ken and Kay bought the land and the old winter home from Dave and Cleo. There was a bit of clean up to do and then Ken began building a new house on the property with the help of Alvin Staley. They kept the living room from the old Jernberg house but tore down the rest of the house. A new basement was poured, and almost every free minute of the next couple of years was spent building the new house.


The Bare House Under Construction in 1961

Ken was also farming and ranching part time.

Ken in approximately 1961

Of course, one can’t work all of the time, so occasionally Ken played poker with his buddies Chuck Davis, Leon Schwartz, Jay Schwendig, Lu Hale, Ronnie Berrett, Thales Johnson, Dean Mackey, Ben Jernberg, Sheriff Joe Potter, and many others. Kurt and Kim especially like it when the poker games were held at their house. They got to stay up later than usual, and once the adults thought Kim and Kurt were asleep, the guys started getting a little loose and told stories they wouldn’t have told if they had known the kids were listening. And, those were some good stories!  Ken also occasionally took time to go hunting, which of course made the news.


October 4, 1962 article in Rigby Star Newspaper

The Bares Move To Their Current Location, and Ken Becomes a Full-time Farmer

In late spring 1962 the Bare family moved their trailer house to the property where the new house was being built. Kurt and Kim frequently “helped” Ken build the house, but sometimes Ken was just too busy trying to get the house finished to let them help.

Not long after they moved Ken stopped working at the AEC Site and became a full-time farmer and rancher. Then, in late 1962 the Bares moved into the new house built by Ken.

January 10, 1963 Article in the Rigby Star Newspaper

The Last Set of Children Were Born

Kraig Bare was born on October 6, 1962, just a short time after the Bares had moved into their new house. Kraig was a little, tiny baby … weighing in at a whopping 9.5 pounds!

October 11, 1962 Article in the Rigby Star Newspaper

Kraig never had a problem with eating and was basically a square baby with fat square feet. Kim remembers Kraig would run his bottle along the crib spindles when he was out of milk letting everyone know he needed more to eat. And shortly after he started walking, he started carrying rocks around – big rocks. Kraig carried big rocks around all the time - who knows what that was about.

Kraig Bare 1963

The Bares were very excited to spend the first Christmas in their new house. Kurt was especially excited to celebrate his 6th birthday with a party in January. However, the article in the newspaper called him “Master Kent Bare”. Oh well, by now we all know accuracy in news reports really wasn’t that important back then.


January 10, 1963 Article in the Rigby Star Newspaper – says Kent instead of Kurt

Even though life was very busy at the Bare house by this point, Ken and Kay were still not finished having kids. The day after Christmas in 1963, the baby of the family Kliff was born. This happy event was reported two times in the newspapers, with two different dates listed as his birthdate – both of which were wrong. And they spelled his name wrong, but that’s not entirely unexpected. Not everyone knows that each member of this family has a first name that starts with the letter “K”. And besides, why start being accurate now?


January 2, 1964 Article in the Rigby Star Newspaper


January 9, 1964 Article in the Rigby Star Newspaper

Baby Kliff Bare 1964

1966 and 1967 - Ken Stays Busy

Around 1966, in addition to having a wife with four young children and being a full-time farmer and rancher, Ken began digging ditches with Bill Cope. This kept Ken busy many weekends.

An ad that ran frequently in the 1966 Post Register and/or Rigby Star Newspapers

In April 1966 Ken decided to run for office in the local Lion’s Club. Ken won the election at end of April, and in June 1966 he began serving as 3rd Vice President of the West Jefferson Lion’s Club. The other officers were: Paul Davis as president; Carl Hoggan as first Vice President; Jay Schwending as 2nd Vice President; Lou Hale as treasurer; Jack Gerard as secretary; Don Bybee as tailtwister, and Earl Gilstrap as Lion tamer. The directors were R.A. Dwigans, Carl Nordstrom, Roy Shuldberg, and Farrell Black, Jr.


April 14, 1966 Rigby Star Newspaper Article about Upcoming Elections

April 28, 1966 Rigby Star Newspaper Article Detailing Who Won the Elections

June 16, 1966 Rigby Star Newspaper Article – New Lion’s Club Officers

Ken and Kay celebrated their 10th anniversary in July 1966. However, when it got reported in the newspaper, they said she married Burbe Bare. That was probably supposed to be Curbe Bare, Ken’s Dad, whom Kay obviously did not marry. But this article surely made for some good laughs around town.

July 28, 1966 Post Register Newspaper Article

The Bare Family and Grandpa Dave Jernberg Easter 1967

For several years, the Lion’s Club sponsored Little League in the area. In 1967, Ken Bare decided to direct the Monteview Little League Team while Leon Schwartz directed the team in Terreton. Kurt Dwigans and Casey Bare were junior directors of the Monteview team. Kurt Bare was no doubt thrilled because from the time he could walk and throw a ball he was completely obsessed with baseball.


July 13, 1967 Post Register or Rigby Star Newspaper Article

1967 Christmas in North Carolina

In 1967 Ken had not been back to North Carolina for 18 years, so he decided to take his entire family there for Christmas. They packed their clothes and Christmas presents, then they drove to Salt Lake City where they boarded a train to North Carolina. The train ride took 3 days and they had to change trains in Chicago and two other places. Imagine not only spending 3 days on a train, but doing it with 4 kids that were ages 10, 9, 5, and 4!

The first train that took them to Chicago was pretty comfortable with nice seats that reclined almost to a lying position. That train wasn’t so bad - at least for the kids - until they went through a tunnel. Every time they went through a tunnel a little kid sitting next to the family screamed at the top of his lungs through the entire tunnel – EVERY SINGLE TIME! And they went through a lot of tunnels between Salt Lake City and Chicago.

The next two trains were a different story. They were crowded, the seats were uncomfortable, and it was terrible to try and sleep on seats that didn’t recline, especially with 4 young children. And Kliff was pretty fussy the last couple days of the trip on the train. It was a long 3 days, but they arrived safe and sound in North Carolina. 

The Bares had a great time once they arrived and saw where Ken had grown up. The kids fell in love with all of the relatives and were having a wonderful time. They especially enjoyed staying with Uncle Herb, Aunt Em, and their very fun cousins Chris and Laurie. And the rest of the Bare family was a hoot – what a bunch of characters! Aunt Dot was delightful and Uncle Paul made everyone laugh with his funny accent and funny stories.  And boy, could Ken's Aunt Grace play the piano!  In fact, rumor has it that Bobby Bare, the well known singer and Ken's first cousin once removed, often stopped at Grace's house to play music with her when he was in town.

Ken in North Carolina December 1967

Uncle Cliff was a lot of fun too, and he was quite amused by little Kliff. He told Kay he was milking the cow one day and Kliff was with him. He told Kliff not to get to close because she didn’t know him, so Kliff went up to the cow’s face and introduced himself.

House Fire Ends the Special Vacation

Christmas Day started out wonderfully in North Carolina. Santa was very generous, and Kurt and Kim were learning all kinds of new things about Ken from all the fun stories he told when he thought Kurt and Kim were asleep upstairs. There were lots and lots of fun relatives, great food, lots of fun things to do, and an almost perfect Christmas was coming to an end. Then a phone call came from Idaho that changed everything.

The Bares, Jernberg, and Munns families used to have Christmas at Dave and Cleo’s house in Mud Lake. And of course, because the Bares went to North Carolina only the Munns and Jernbergs got together that year. While they were sitting down enjoying Christmas dinner, a neighbor came flying into the yard, ran to the house and announced that Ken and Kay’s house was engulfed in flames!

At the time there wasn’t a local fire department in Mud Lake, so after calling the fire department in Idaho Falls, everyone at the family dinner as well as around 50 neighbors rushed to the Bare house and began hauling out everything they could get their hands on. Ben Jernberg carried out a drawer full of pictures and other papers that couldn’t be replaced even though some of them were already burning. Kim still has a picture album that was burned on the outside but the photos inside are OK. Family and neighbors also saved some furniture and other items – some of which were on fire as they were being carried out of the burning house and sizzled when they hit the snow.

Even though many of the photo albums were saved along with the piano and a few other pieces of furniture everything else was either burned, damaged by smoke, or damaged by the water from the fire department putting out the fire. That included Ken’s almost new 1966 automobile, the pickup truck, all of the bicycles, a motorcycle used to change water, lots of furniture, and the entire house.

The house Ken had built from scratch and finished in 1963 was gone – completely burned to the ground. And to top it all off, the house was not insured. It was a total loss financially as well as emotionally, and the entire family was devastated. Dave and Cleo had waited until the end of the day to call Ken and Kay because they didn’t want to ruin Christmas.  But that phone call was the end of a very special Christmas vacation for the Bare Family.


December 28, 1967 Rigby Star Newspaper Article

Kliff’s birthday is the day after Christmas, so before the Bares left to return home everyone celebrated his 4th birthday in North Carolina. 


Celebrating Kliff's 4th birthday are Ken Bare, Kliff Bare, and Chris Bare

After saying their goodbyes in North Carolina, the Bares flew back to Salt Lake City. It was a long 4 hours back to the house from the airport. As they drove up to the what remained of their house, the biggest shock to the kids was to see very few walls left standing, almost all the walls were gone except for those in the old living room – and they were full of holes.  The floors were still there so the basement was mostly covered, but everything in the basement was soaked from the water used to put out the fire.  It was really eerie to see the bathtub and toilet just sitting out in the open - in the middle of nowhere. And EVERTHING smelled like smoke – for YEARS!

It was determined that the fire originated in the car sitting in the attached garage. That was pretty evident as everything in the garage was gone melted beyond recognition. The motorcycle and a couple of the bicycles were even melted into piles of steel and stuck to the cement garage floor.  

The cleanup began immediately. Neighbors helped, as they do in farming communities, and the Lions Club arranged a workday to help clean up debris. Many people took the clothes that had been saved, washed them, and brought them back to Ken and Kay at their temporary house. Several family members and friends of Dot and Paul Hopkin’s gave the Bares money to help with items for the house. And of course, lots of people brought food to the house for a few days so Kay didn’t have to cook. However, when the community wanted to hold a fund raiser to help out, Ken said no.


January 18, 1968 Rigby Star Newspaper Article

Ken, Kay, and kids moved to a basement house, which was located where Harvey Nelson’s and family currently live. It was strange living below ground, and that house was a lot of work. Every time it rained the basement house flooded, and not just a little. The Bares lived there for approximately 1 and ½ years.

However, the Bare’s dog named Sinners refused to move to the basement house. They tried several times to get him to stay with them at the basement house, but for some reason he didn’t like it there. He always went back to the burned house, so they had to feed him there. Sinners was so happy when the family moved back home.

Then there is the story about the piano. The player piano was one of the pieces of furniture they were able to get out of the fire. It was really heavy, and it was amazing they were able to carry it out of a burning house. Ken was moving the piano to the basement house and Kay told him he needed to secure it. Ken thought it was OK just being in the back of the pickup, and …. it rolled out of the back of the pickup and broke into pieces when it hit the road. Kay was not one bit impressed and was mad for days.

Once Again, Ken and Kay Dust Themselves Off and Keep Going

For the first time in his life Ken borrowed money to build a house, and the summer of 1968 construction began on a new house. They decided to use the existing basement, but what was left of the original living room was torn down and this time construction workers built the house while Ken farmed. In late summer or early fall of 1969, the Bares moved into the second new house built on that property. That house is still the main part of the house where Ken and Kay currently live.

October 9, 1969 Rigby Star Newspaper Article

Ken turns 40 in 1969

This takes us through the first 40 years of Ken Bare’s life. It was an eventful, busy, and interesting 40 years. And as life is for everyone, it was full of ups and downs. There were a few awful times and some tears, but mostly there were a lot of interesting and fun times as well as laughter and fun. And even though his kids were a bit noisy for Ken at times, those 40 years ended up with Ken living a busy yet full life farming in Idaho with a family of 6 who loved and admired him tremendously. And he was just getting started!

(Later there will be another article on what happened the following 60, 70, or 80 plus years of Ken Bare's life.) 


[1] Between 1910 and 1960, as part of the Appalachian Migration, millions of Southerners left their home states of Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.

[2] In 1949, the federal research facility was established as the National Reactor Testing Station (NRTS). In 1975, the United States Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) was divided into the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The Idaho site was for a short time named ERDA and then subsequently renamed to the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL) in 1977 with the creation of the United States Department of Energy (DOE) under President Jimmy Carter. After two decades as INEL, the name was changed again to the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) in 1997. Throughout its lifetime, there have been more than 50 one-of-a-kind nuclear reactors built by various organizations at the facility for testing; all but three are out of service. On Feb. 1, 2005, Battelle Energy Alliance took over operation of the lab from Bechtel, merged with Argonne National Laboratory-West, and the facility name was changed to "Idaho National Laboratory" (INL).

[3] In the years the Bares lived at this location their daughter would grow to hate that log cabin laundry room because it had a trap door that Kurt would close on her.  Then, then he would leave her in the dark with spiders crawling on her.  That combined with Kurt frequently kissing spiders and then throwing them on her caused her to have a lifelong phobia of spiders.