Born in Tanunda in 1945, Ken attended St Jakobi Lutheran School and Nuriootpa High School before coming to Concordia College in 1962.
Ken served for ten years as a fighter pilot in the RAAF, flying Sabres and Mirages, and was privileged to be with the first Mirage Squadron, Number 75, to deploy to Butterworth in Malaysia. Ken also flew with the United States Air Force during Vietnam, flying close air support missions. After this he was appointed as Aide de Camp to the Governor General.
Following the death of his father, Ken returned to the Barossa farm. This allowed him to become involved in Church, industry and community activities. In its early days, Ken headed the Lutheran Schools Association before leading the team to establish Faith Lutheran College in the Barossa.
His interest in overseas aid led to serving in Cambodia, Rwanda and, post tsunami, in Sumatra. He and his wife Helen have spent many years assisting refugees and new arrivals to Australia.
It is important to acknowledge that for his work in Lutheran Education and the community, in 2014 Ken Semmler was recognised and awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).