In Memory of

Kenneth Leroy Kear

September 7, 1921–February 19, 2020

Photo of Kenneth Leroy Kear

About Kenneth Leroy Kear

Kenneth Leroy Kear of Van Wert, Ohio passed away on Wednesday, February 19th, 2020 at the age of 98. After months of failing health, he died peacefully in his home in Salem, Oregon with his family by his side.

Kenneth was born on September 7th,1921 in Van Wert, Ohio to Ethel Kear (Atha) and Floyd Kear. As a boy growing up on a farm during the depression, he learned hard work alongside his father to help support his family.

After completing high school he continued to work hard at a variety of jobs to help support himself and his family. The most interesting was as a speakeasy slot machine mechanic. In 1940 he became a lineman for Ohio Bell. On July 24,1941 he witnessed the collapse of the Old Wagon Bridge on the Maumee river while up on a pole at the end of the bridge hanging telephone lines, surviving to tell the story many times in later years.

In 1941 while working the line job in Waterville, Ohio he met the love of his life, Margarette Helene Downs, whom he affectionately called Peg. Kenneth enlisted in the Navy in 1942 after Pearl Harbor and spent the remainder of WWII on the USS Denebola. Ken and Peg made the difficult choice to wait to consider marriage until after the end of the war.

On Easter Sunday, April 21st,1946 Margarette and Kenneth were married in Waterville, Ohio. They remained devoted to each other for 73 years.

Following WWII, Kenneth chose to remain in the Navy. His remaining years of service were primarily with the Pacific and Mediterranean Fleets. The last ship he served on was the USS Boston CAG-1. While at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in California he decided to retire. Kenneth was honorably discharged in 1962 as a CWO3. He was very proud of his military career and service to his country.

After retiring from the Navy, Ken and Peg settled their family in Fremont, California. He began a new career at Lockheed Martin and became a liaison between Lockheed, Nasa and the Navy while working with the Poseideon and Trident Missile Programs. Ken was also a standing member of the American Legion and Fleet Reserve Association.

In 1968 Ken and Peg bought land in Pioneer, California located in the Northern Sierra Nevada Foothills. In 1978 they built their dream house where they lived until moving to Oregon in 2015. Ken’s hobbies included tooling leather and woodworking. He was an accomplished furniture builder. He designed and built furniture for the Caples Lake Resort cabins, as well as building furniture for their home, and cradles for his grandchildren. Ken played guitar from an early age and loved country-western music.
He also enjoyed fishing and camping, taking his family on many camping excursions. Loving the outdoors, Ken and Peg also managed the Woods and Silver Lake Campgrounds in California for five years.

Kenneth was preceded in death by his parents Ethel Kear (Atha) and Floyd Kear, brother Eugene Kear and two sisters, Margaret Ford and Betty Huzzar. He is survived by his wife Margarette Helene (Downs) Kear, four daughters; Linda Kear-Preston (husband Corey), Janet Rehfeldt (husband Brian), Carol Lykins (husband Fred) and Mary Kappler, four Grandchildren; Aaron, Tim and Mary Beth (Davis); Ashlee Thomas
and five Great-grandchildren Aidan, Lydia and Katherine (Aaron Davis), Benjamin (Tim Davis) and Kason (Ashlee Thomas).