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Kaden Ray Wilken, 18

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Kaden Ray Wilken, age 18 of Nashua, died Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023.

Funeral service will be held 10:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 13, 2023, at Nashua-Plainfield High School Gymnasium with the Rev. Darin Cerwinske presiding.

Interment will follow at Oak Hill Cemetery in Nashua with Drew Wilken, Titus Evans, Trae Geise, Tucker Franzen, Tate White, Carson Chyma, Aiden Hector and Trey Nelson serving as pallbearers.  Jake Sievers is an honorary pallbearer.

Friends may greet the family from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023, at Nashua-Plainfield High School Gymnasium.   

Hugeback Johnson Funeral Home and Crematory/Olson Chapel is entrusted with arrangements.

Kaden was born Jan. 21, 2005, the son of Andy and Sara (Hejlik) Wilken in Waverly. His older brother Drew also welcomed him into the world.

During his early years, Kaden was a young adventurer with a passion for creativity. He spent countless hours building intricate Lego structures and immersing himself in the world of Minecraft, where his imagination knew no bounds. As he grew older, his interests expanded, and he discovered his love for sports.

Kaden’s journey through the Nashua-Plainfield Schools marked the beginning of his athletic achievements. He developed an unbridled passion for sports, excelling in football, wrestling, track, and baseball. His dedication and hard work paid off as he became a state qualifier in both wrestling and track during his senior years. Kaden’s remarkable commitment was further acknowledged with the prestigious 4x4 award, recognizing his remarkable feat of participating in all four sports throughout his high school years. He graduated from Nashua-Plainfield in May 2023.

Beyond his athletic pursuits, Kaden possessed a creative side that he cherished throughout his life. As a young boy, he enjoyed drawing and doodling, and his talent for artistic expression continued to evolve as he grew into a young man.

However, it was in the great outdoors that Kaden truly found his calling. He developed a profound love for hunting, whether it was chasing white-tailed deer, turkeys, or any other game.

What made these experiences truly special for him was the cherished time spent with his beloved family. Hunting was not just a pastime but a family tradition, an opportunity to bond, and create enduring memories.

Kaden’s thirst for outdoor adventures extended to skiing, jet skiing, boating, wakeboarding and swimming, embodying his deep connection with nature. He was a true lover of all things outdoors, finding solace and happiness in the natural world that surrounded him.

On Sundays, you could often find Kaden watching his beloved Minnesota Vikings. His whole family would cheer them on, many times while eating Kaden’s favorite food, buffalo chicken strips. Anything with a little buffalo flavor sparked Kaden’s taste buds.

Kaden’s outgoing personality and zest for life were a beacon that drew people near. His sense of humor and spontaneous spirit made every moment with him an adventure.

He was a very outgoing young man, even if he did not know where he was going — a cherished inside joke within his close-knit family.

Above all, Kaden treasured his family and friends. Their presence in his life was his greatest source of joy, and he cherished every moment spent in their company. His love for them was boundless, and his memory will forever live on in the hearts of those who had the privilege of knowing him.

Kaden is survived by his parents, Andy and Sara Wilken of Nashua; one brother, Drew Wilken of Nashua; paternal grandparents, Jackie and Sherry Wilken of Nashua; maternal grandparents, Deb (Brian) Marth of Urbandale and Bob Hejlik of Ankeny; maternal great-grandparents, Jim and Janet Nelson of Nashua; two aunts, Abby (Lacey) Wilken of Fairbank and Abby (Jim Krieg) Hejlik of Ruthven; three cousins, Kylee and Alivia Loss and Jaelyn Wilken; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins who he loved so much.

He was preceded in death by his great-grandparents, Beverly Johnson, Ken Johnson, Vern and Bonnie Wilken, Ralph and Flossie Hejlik.

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