A kindhearted, generous and cheerful Ken Tankersley
By Patte Smith; photos courtesy of Ken Tankersley
Fifteen years ago, Shannon and Ken Tankersley’s family relocated from the Washington Park area of Denver to Castle Pines. The tight-knit clan enjoys life to the fullest and truly loves living in Colorado. “We can’t imagine living anywhere else,” notes Ken. “Castle Pines is a blend of all the things we love with access to everything we need and a small-town feel.”
The couple, soon to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary, have three girls who, Ken noted, all have boy names – Aubin who is a senior at Colorado State University, Tyler a sophomore at the University of Kansas and Charley who is a junior at Rock Canyon High School. “All of us go by ‘Tank’ in one form or another,” laughed Ken, explaining the family nickname.
Reflecting on the upside of the COVID pandemic, Ken felt it was a gift in a way for families, neighbors and the neighborhood. “We all grew closer together and started ‘howling for healthcare’ at 8 p.m. at the beginning of COVID and kept that going for over 372 days!”
Joining together, the neighborhood enjoyed barbecues, playing pickleball, lawn games and celebrating birthdays and graduations at safe distances. “Our backyard switched to the front yard and made our cul-de-sac a true community,” smiled Ken. “We are currently talking about vacationing together – who would have thought!”
Sports is a big part of the family. Ken was involved with the girls’ many sports when they were younger, and Shannon is an avid runner. He still hits the rec center regularly with Charley.
“My family is amazing, and my wife, Shannon, is fun, beautiful and has the gift of hospitality with everyone she meets. She is the best example I could ever imagine to be the mom of our three girls and a partner with me.”
The Tankersley family loves nature and the outdoors. Together they enjoy hiking, biking, spring skiing and are passionate Broncos fans. Charming and fun loving, the couple’s date nights are in search of the best happy hour in town. Shannon says one of the best kept secrets in Castle Pines is a sunset dinner on the back patio at The Ridge golf course on a cool Colorado night.
The family is in tune with the loneliness and isolation that many communities are going through, so they invest their time in hospitality and fellowship. Together they are part of a nonprofit called Young Life (YL), a Christian outreach ministry to adolescents, and work with other nonprofits around the Denver metro area.
Ken is the senior vice president of YL, overseeing global innovation and growth. The nonprofit was founded in 1941 and currently has a presence throughout the U.S. and 105 countries.
“I have been part of the Young Life organization for over 30 years and have made significant decisions regarding my Christian faith thanks to what I have learned and experienced through the organization,” explained Ken. “My faith changed who I married, where I work, how I spend my time and my money, and where I live.”
In today’s culture, Ken realizes that teenagers are under a unique pressure in middle and high school as well as college. He firmly believes ministries such as YL and local churches have an important positive impact on children, teenagers, parents, individuals and communities.
“It seems like we have lost our ability to engage, converse and even disagree in a respectful way, so we are committed to changing that narrative as a family,” he explained. “Locally, I am involved in mission-wide fostering of innovative methods to connect with students and their growth.”
Be on the lookout for Ken and his spoiled golden retrievers, Bo and Scout, puttering around Castle Pines in his Halloween-orange 1973 Volkswagen Thing. “I spent a few years getting it restored. Did you know that every part of this car can come off, doors, windows, you name it – probably why they quit making them. We all love this car!” he joked.