Cover photo for Kenneth Harrison Dudley's Obituary
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Kenneth Harrison Dudley

November 12, 1937 — December 24, 2022

Durham, North Carolina

Kenneth Harrison Dudley

Kenneth Harrison Dudley, 85 years old of Durham, NC peacefully passed away with his two children by his side on December 24, 2022.


Kenneth was born on November 12,1937, to Kenneth Earl Dudley and Fredericka Angle Dudley.  As a young man in 1950, one of his best memories was being on the Hagerstown Little League baseball team and competing in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA. Ken graduated from St. James High School in 1955 where he was involved in many activities and sports including Baseball (captain), Varsity Basketball, Varsity Football, Mummers, Bai Yuka (Business Manager), and Choir. After graduation Ken attended Elon College where he received a degree in Chemistry and was a member of Kappa Psi Nu, Chemistry Club and was elected to Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities.


In 1963 Ken earned his PhD in organic chemistry at The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and continued his training as a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow at University of Basel in Switzerland. He then returned to North Carolina, working for several years at Research Triangle Institute where he met his wife, Betty Jean Kirchdorfer, and married in 1966. In 1967 he joined the faculty of UNC conducting research in toxicology and teaching, becoming a professor of pharmacology.  While at UNC he founded the Epilepsy and Services for NC residents, and was awarded one of North Carolina’s highest honors, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine (1987). Other awards and recognitions were from the School of Pharmacy Distinguished Service Award (1988) and the J. Kiffin Penry Quality of Life Award from the Epilepsy Foundation of North Carolina (2004). He also received more than a dozen acknowledgments for his teaching, including the Board of Governors’ Award for Excellence in Teaching (1998).


Before retirement Ken spent many hours doing masonry and landscaping in his yard. He also loved building and painting bird houses in his shed.  While staying active he began swing dancing, then shag dancing. He had a love for the coast of NC where he often went deep sea fishing, caught crabs and went digging for oysters, and then enjoyed sharing his catch with friends and family. For any seafood, he had the recipe. He was a “regular” four times a year at his favorite place in Pine Knoll Shores, The Atlantis Lodge. After retirement from UNC in 2009 Ken spent the majority of his time with his family and friends.


Ken was preceded in death by his wife Betty Jean (1977) and survived by his children Chis Dudley (Cindy) and daughter Angela Jenkins (Fleenor) and 3 grandchildren Christopher Dudley, Elizabeth Dudley and Thomas Jenkins. Most will remember him for his loyal friendship, dedication to his students while teaching at UNC, the love of his dog (Obie Wan Kenobi), going to UNC Basketball games for over 40 years, and his competitive card playing.  He was as generous as he was loyal, giving back to several organizations.


The family would like to thank Dr. Ashley Henderson and Nancy Boughey, RN along with the staff at UNC Hillsborough Critical Care unit for supportive, loving and amazing care.


A graveside service will be held at 11am on March 18, 2023, at Rest Haven Cemetery in Hagerstown, MD. In lieu of flowers and if inclined, Ken wishes for donations to the following organizations:


Elon University 

Campus Box 2600

Elon, NC 27244

Attn: Pat Burton


Saint James School

17641 College Road

Hagerstown, MD 21740


NC Community Foundation, Betty Jean Kirchdorfer

Dudley Scholarship


Community Foundation of Washington County,

Maryland, Fredericka Dudley Garver Memorial Fund

Or to the charitable organization of your choice.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Kenneth Harrison Dudley, please visit our flower store.


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