Conductor Kenneth Paul “K.P.” Smith Jr., 59, of Local 1313 at Amarillo, Texas, died last week (June 28) when two BNSF trains crashed just outside of Amarillo. Two others, Cody Owens, 52, and Lara Gayle Taylor, 45, also died in the crash. Owens and Taylor were former members. A fourth, unidentified conductor, jumped from the train and suffered injuries.
Smith had been a member since 1977. He was known for having a love of the outdoors and had a passion for sharing his knowledge and skills with those he loved. In his free time, Smith enjoyed scuba diving and driving RZRs.
“While devastated by the sudden loss of Kenny, we intend to spend the upcoming days and weeks remembering the love he had for his family and a good adventure. K.P. took great pride in his 39 years of service with BNSF Railway. He will be missed deeply by those whose lives he touched,” the family said in a statement to Amarillo Globe-News.
Smith is survived by his wife Donna Smith, daughter Sarah (Tomas) Wrotten, son Kellen (Tana) Smith, mother Nancy Smith, brother Ricky (Jacquie) Smith; grandchildren Saylor Wrotten; Averey, Kysen and Ansen Smith. He was preceded in death by his father Paul Smith.
Owens hired out with BNSF in 1994. He was known for his love of horses and the cowboy way of life. He also loved to hunt, fish, snow ski and water ski. He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Claude.
Owens is survived by wife Cindy, daughter Riley Owens, sons Ty and Zackry Owens; mother Betty Owens; sisters Connie (Glen) Spiller and Cheryl (Danny) Hand; and grandmother Mildred Clendennen. He was preceded in death by his father Merle Owens.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5411 S. Bell, Ste. 411, Amarillo, TX 79109, in honor of Owens’ father. A funeral service was held Saturday, July 2. Click here to read Owens’ official obituary or here to leave condolences.
Taylor loved her son, Jacob, and enjoyed spending time with family and friends. She was an avid athlete and was often found working out at the gym. She had three cats and a horse.
Taylor is survived by son Jacob, mother Patricia Pembridge, stepfather Paul, brothers Randy (Debbi) Morris and David Morris. She was preceded in death by her father Jerry Lee Morris.
Visitation and a memorial service were held Tuesday, July 5. Memorial contributions may be made to a trust fund set up for her son Jacob Taylor of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Click here to read Taylor’s official obituary and to leave condolences.