"Kenny" Kenneth (Kenny) Allan O'Guinn was born in Montebello, California on May 22, 1926, the fourth of five children of Allan & Susie O'Guinn. He died peacefully at home with his family in Whittier, California on November 29, 2013. He was 87. Kenny grew up during the Great Depression. He spoke of the Depression and World War Two as the defining periods of his life, and of his character. When WWII broke out his father was captured at Wake Island and sent to prison camp in Japan, and his mother went to work at Douglas Aircraft to support the family. Kenny rushed to finish high school and joined the Navy in 1943 at age seventeen. His older sisters Virginia and Helen had already enlisted in the Army and Navy respectively. During the war he served as a Fire Controlman aboard the destroyer escort Wingfield on convoy duty in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, attaining the rank of Petty Officer First Class. Following the war he shipped to the Pacific aboard the Albemarle for Operation Crossroads, the Atomic Bomb tests at Bikini Atoll. A few years later, when Korea was invaded, he was recalled from active reserve to serve again in the Pacific. Earlier in his Naval career he met his future wife Rose Marie Fantasia in Washington DC. They were married there on December 14, 1946. Between the wars, Kenny moved his new family to Pico, California where he, like his father - and later his sons - entered the plumbing trade, and was eventually foreman on many major Southern California projects. He later became an inspector for the City of Los Angeles, and taught for many years at the Southern California Pipe Trades Training Center. When he met Rose, Kenny converted to Catholicism, and in California became a very active member of Saint Hilary church. There he was a founder and the first president of the Perpetual Adoration Society, as well as an enthusiastic tenor in the church choir. In 1965 the growing family moved to Whittier, where Kenny was equally active, including duties as a Eucharistic Minister, at Saint Gregory the Great Church. Kenny had a lifelong romance with trains - big and small. He built his own steam engine, and served as a hard working member - and eventually as president of - Riverside Live Steamers. Even in his last days, he asked to be taken to the tracks to watch the trains. Married 67 years to the love of his life, he leaves behind his wife Rose, his 9 children, Stuart (Betsy), Teresa Costantino (Chuck), John (Sally), Patrick (Jane), Mary, Ken, Jean Hernandez (John), Ruth Marshall (Mike) & David (Eddie) and his sister Pat Appleby (Roy). He was blessed with sixteen grandchildren, ten great grandchildren and five great great grandchildren. Kenny was a devoted family man, respected plumber and teacher. His wisdom, honesty, work ethic, kindness, and ever-present sense of humor made us all better people. He will be greatly missed. Services are pending. For time and place call Del Angel Funeral Home at 562-867-1778.
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Published in the Los Angeles Times on Dec. 3, 2013