A Loving Tribute

Kenneth Kosanke

April 11, 1943 – October 26, 2023
Submitted by Bonnie Kosanke


Ken Kosanke died quietly from Parkinson’s Disease on October 26, 2023. His wife of 54 years, Bonnie, was by his side. He is also survived by two sisters, Karen Traut, and Marlene (Mickie) Ramsey.

Ken was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 11, 1943. His parents were William and Helen (Schnabl) Kosanke. He grew up in Okauchee, WI. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, and he earned a Ph.D. in nuclear chemistry from Michigan State University. It was there that he met Bonnie (Foote). They were married on May 10, 1969. They had no children.

Ken began his employment in Grand Junction, CO, working on the National Uranium Resource Evaluation Program. He held that position for about a decade when circumstances allowed him to change careers and pursue a life-long passion: fireworks. Ken and Bonnie sold consumer fireworks, performed local firework displays (some of which they manufactured), and researched various aspects of pyrotechnics. Over the years, he introduced to the industry such innovations as HDPE mortars and plastic shell casings. But his real legacy is in publishing technical information in pyrotechnics. With Bonnie, he published the Journal of Pyrotechnics, the book Pyrotechnic Chemistry, numerous scientific monographs, and the 3-volume Encyclopedic Dictionary of Pyrotechnics. Ken was recognized as an authority on fireworks, and he worked as an expert witness in many legal cases.

He was highly regarded by many people in the pyrotechnic community as an educator, a resource, a mentor, and a friend. There will be a celebration of Ken’s life at a future date.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to HopeWest or an organization of your choice.

Honor Ken with a donation to HopeWest

Gifts of remembrance are a meaningful way to honor individuals who have touched our lives. Your gift to HopeWest makes a lasting impact in the lives of others.

You can also donate by mail. Send a check to:

3090 N. 12th Street
Grand Junction, CO 81506