Hursel Kenneth Council, 90, died on December 2nd, 2016 of heart failure at his Damascus Church Road residence in Chapel Hill. Mr. Council was born on May 22, 1926 in Carrboro and was married to Chapel Hill native Esther Ruth [Wilson] Council. He leaves his daughters Brenda Earhart and Gloria Council; his son Kevin Council, son-in-law Jim Cauvel and grandson Ben Knight.Council’s mother Fannie Maynor raised four children alone during the Great Depression in Carrboro, a time Council described as being occasionally “hungry.” Council told a story of being called over by a railroad worker in Carrboro as a little boy — clearly planting something by the tracks. “What are you planting?” the man asked. “Pork and Beans,” he replied. Likely a hint at things to come, considering Council went on to become a respected green thumb of rural Chapel Hill. Although never college educated, he could easily digest 4-inch-thick books on ‘How to Grow Vegetables by the Organic Method’ and ‘the Art of Composting,’ thumbing through the small text at his kitchen table for hours on end with fresh dirt still in the dry cracks of his hands. Council attended Chapel Hill High School and shortly after volunteered for the Navy during WWII, serving on patrol boats near Florida’s Mayport Naval Station. When asked about his time in the Navy, his favorite stories were typically about the fishing mischief he and his crew would get into on slow days. Council married Esther Wilson in 1947 and settled on her father’s four-generation Damascus Church Road farm where he hand-built the home they lived in until their last days. His quick wit and shy, infectious grin were a familiar site to many in Chapel Hill. Council spent the majority of his career as a postman at the Franklin Street Post Office and then spent his retirement working at Knight-Campbell Hardware, Andrews Riggsbee Hardware and at the Finley Golf Course so he could play free rounds of Golf — a notable yet wholly understated talent of his. Predictable in the best way, Kenneth could usually be found with his seemingly bionic knees firmly planted in rich garden soil or in his threadbare chair reading a thrift-store romance novel and eating a banana mayonnaise sandwich. If he weren’t there he’d likely be in the kitchen, canning enough tomatoes to kill an average person, baking a mess of yeast rolls or arranging a tiny jar of yard-flowers in the window for Esther, his sweetheart of 59 years. If all else failed, just look in the barn — he’d probably be in there re-building that ancient Sears tractor for the tenth time. If Sears had discontinued the part he needed he’d find a way to machine it himself — even if it meant sacrificing one of Esther’s baking pans. He was truly a wealth of self-taught skills and handy, practical knowledge. Some say those who grow up poor are the most generous — this was certainly the case with Kenneth. Not a week went by in the summer when he didn’t make the rounds in his old Chevy to deliver fresh veggies and bread to family. He’d even make regular trips to priority-mail tomatoes to Colorado because he knew damn well his grandson wasn’t going to find anything worth eating out there. If the squirrels ate his corn or a heavy rain split his tomatoes he’d be at the Carrboro farmers market buying from other farmers, and he’d give that away too. At Sunday lunch he’d sit across the kitchen at an impossibly small folding TV tray to make sure we all had room at the table, but only after he made sure we all had what we needed. He was selfless to a fault, a truly rare and admirable quality of a man from his generation. Kenneth Council lived his life with an uncompromising, compassionate grace that was present in all things close to his heart and especially with his children. He conveyed a humble strength that put all who knew and loved him at ease. Kenneth Council was an incomparable, irreplaceable soul. To know him was an immense privilege, an honor in the purest form.