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Wife and neighbors remember Silver Bay man

Ken Vogel (left) and his wife Ann Snyder on a trip to the Oregon coast. Vogel died suddenly last week at his lake home on Bear Island Lake. (Photo courtesy of Ann Snyder)

Aug. 11 was a big day for Ken Vogel.

The Silver Bay resident was getting ready for his fifth wedding anniversary and he and his wife, Ann Snyder, were going out for dinner at a local North Shore resort. But Vogel had a few surprises up his sleeve.

Vogel and Snyder had both been working and were planning to meet at the restaurant, but before she left for the resort restaurant Snyder got a call from Vogel.

"Pack a bag," he said.

Vogel had arranged for them to spend the night in a cabin at the resort before heading up to their mobile lake home on Bear Island Lake for the weekend. Even better, Vogel had "sweet talked" the head chef at the restaurant into allowing him to store another surprise for Snyder in the restaurant's cooler. He had picked up a couple Butterfinger Blizzards at Dairy Queen and he wanted to surprise Snyder after dinner.

The next day the pair went up to their lake home and spent the weekend together. On Sunday evening (Aug. 13), Snyder went back to their home in Silver Bay, and Vogel stayed behind to do some fishing over the next few days. Sadly, Vogel's body was found Aug. 17; he had died of natural causes a day or two earlier.

Vogel, 57, had only moved to Silver Bay a few years ago, but he had a variety of jobs around town that quickly made him known throughout the community, including working at the gate of the Northshore Mining plant and freelance reporting for the News-Chronicle. Vogel had given up most of his other jobs, but writing and reporting was something he found a passion for during his four years writing for the News-Chronicle.

"He would go looking for things that people were doing so he could do a story and get it to the public to let them know what was going on," Snyder said. "Lately he was wanting to spend more time at the lake, so he stopped doing three other jobs but he wouldn't give up the writing job because he enjoyed it so much."

Indeed, Vogel spent much of his time working for the News-Chronicle chasing down local events and covering Silver Bay City Council meetings every other week. Even after back problems began a couple of years ago, he did everything he could to be there at meetings.

One Silver Bay city councilor recalled Vogel's first meeting after back surgery. He sat in the hardbacked chairs in the council chambers in obvious pain, yet he still got the story and filed it on time.

Away from work, Vogel and Snyder enjoyed spending time out at the lake fishing and enjoying each other's company. Even when his sore back kept him from fishing for walleye or bass, the couple loved spending time there and Vogel enjoyed taking care of his wife.

When Snyder was working, she would often get a call from her husband making sure she called him before she left for home so he could start preparing the couple's dinner.

"He loved cooking and he said he loved it because he loved taking care of me," Snyder said.

For their anniversary, Vogel and Snyder bought a grill for their home and after working together to assemble it, as always happened for the couple during similar projects, there were a few screws leftover at the end.

"Sometimes later we found out where they went," Snyder joked.

Neighbors, too, enjoyed his cooking. Bev Yoki lives just down the road from the couple and she and Vogel would engage in friendly baking contests.

"He would knock on the door and bring us all kinds of goodies," Yoki said. "I couldn't keep up with him but I would bring him some of my more ethnic goodies, because I'm Finnish so I'd bring him my Scandinavian treats."

Yoki said over the years Vogel brought them pies, cheesecakes and other desserts as well as soups and more savory treats, too. As a diabetic, Vogel used a number of alternative sweeteners in his dishes and helped Yoki learn about some, too.

Asked to share a favorite recipe of Vogel's, Snyder said she couldn't because he never followed a recipe. He would use a base, but he could never resist tweaking the formula and making it his own.

Yoki also remembered the way Vogel would look out for her family when they were away, looking after the place and making sure to call if he saw any unusual activity.

"He would let us know and let the authorities know if something funny was going on here," she said. "Living out in the country it is nice having someone watching over your place."

In his few years in Silver Bay, Vogel left an indelible mark on his community and his neighborhood.

In addition to Snyder, Vogel leaves behind two adult children, Kristin and Tony Vogel, his parents, Bill and Kay Vogel, as well as a brother and a sister.

Jamey Malcomb

Jamey Malcomb has been a reporter for the Pine Journal since October 2018. He previously worked as a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle from 2015-2018. Malcomb is a native of North Carolina and holds a bachelor's degree in English and history from the George Washington University and a master's degree in education from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Malcomb moved to Minnesota in July 2012 and worked as a sports clerk and news assistant at the Duluth News Tribune. 

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