Kenneth A. Gaustad, 81, of Houston died Sunday, March 26, 2017, at Valley View Healthcare and Rehab in Houston.

Ken was born April 4, 1935, on Twin Ridge just south of Houston, to Peter O. and Senell (Gunderson) Gaustad. His mother died when Ken was 12 years old. After that he was raised by his father and stepmother, Florence, in the Houston area. Ken loved school sports, especially basketball, and was a 1953 graduate of Houston High School. He went on to attend Winona State T. C. for two years. He was on active duty in the Navel Air Force for two years and nine months. On July 4, 1959, he married Barbara A. Strand. To this union were born three children, Teri, Brent and Doug. Ken and Barbara were divorced in 1974. On Dec. 26, 1976, he married Janice (Tudahl) Holter. He worked for Northern States Power for the majority of his career. He retired from NSP Jan. 1, 1996, as an administrator.

Ken had a passion for fast-pitch softball. He played for the Navy and many other teams until the age of 40. Ken acquired the nick name “Hummer” for the sound the ball would make when he pitched. He also loved golfing, hunting, and river life, owning a boathouse with his brother and then purchasing one for his family. He was a member of the Kiwanis Club in La Crosse, the Houston American Legion, was a long time member of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in La Crescent, Minn., and was currently a member of Cross of Christ Lutheran Church in Houston.

Ken is survived by his sister, Margaret Anderson; and sister-in-law, Violet (Lloyd) Gaustad; his daughter, Teri Gaustad of Brownsville, Minn., and her three children, Jenny (Jon) Rahlf and their children, Jon, Lane and Grace, Kim La Rue and her son, Landon, and Brett La Rue. His son Brent and (Virginia) Gaustad of Brooksville, FL and their children: Jake, David, and Kristen (Jones); his son, Doug and (Connie) Gaustad of Brownsville, and their son, Owen; his stepdaughter, Tami (Bob) Arbuckle of Hayfield, Minn.; and three stepsons, Tony (Kim) Holter of Hokah, Minn., Tracy (Melanie) Holter of Valley High, Minn., and Tim (Hollie) Holter of Caledonia, Minn.; several stepgrandchildren, Ryan, Rachel, Adam, Jerry, Griffin, Marissa, Braden, Keaton, Lacey, Aleah, Devin, Arial, Mason and Logan; and several stepgreat-grandchildren.

Ken was preceded in death by his parents; wife; brother, Russell, and his wife, Artis; brother, Lloyd; and brother-in-law, Robert Anderson.

There was a visitation from 3:30 to 6 p.m. with a time of sharing at 6 p.m. Friday, March 31, at Hoff Funeral and Cremation Service in Houston.

Leave a memory of Ken and sign his online guestbook at

The family prefers memorials directed to the Houston Food Shelf or to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.