PETERBOROUGH - Kenneth Lyne King, 87, of Peterborough, died peacefully in his home on July 19, 2013.
Born in Norfolk, Va., he was the son of the late Eleanor (Lyne) and Arthur Godwin King. Shortly after his birth, the family moved to Hollywood, where his father worked with his cousin, Cecil B. DeMille, at his production studios. In California, Ken became an avid surfer and built his own surfboards.
Ken's father also owned a ranch in Buckeye, Ariz., where the entire family moved
Shortly before his 18th birthday, he volunteered for infantry duty in the U.S. Army. He served in the American Expeditionary Force and when honorably discharged in June 1946, he was the youngest second lieutenant. Ken lost his elder brother, Arthur, when his plane was shot down in the Battle of the Coral Sea.
Ken graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in mechanical engineering. He worked for Northrup Aircraft Company in southern California. After several years in the field, Ken earned an MBA at Harvard University
Ken worked for the Packard brothers at the Hewlett Packard Company, then one of the small and promising companies that put Silicon Valley on the map. During this period, Ken and Sandy built their first house in Palo Alto, Calif., and a ski cabin in Squaw Valley.
Ken was motivated with an unstoppable will to succeed, always looking for a better way to do things. His first notable invention was the breakaway ski binding sold under the name Vorg.
While working for HP, Ken and his wife, Sandra, were transfered to the East Coast, and during this period Ken and Sandy built their second home in Weston, Mass., a Frank Lloyd Wright-styled design of brick and redwood.
After building their second house, they took up sailboat racing and sail touring in the Cape Cod, Mass., area. Ken's entrepreneurial juices, always in full flood, built several custom masts and keels for their sail boats, which he all called Skyhook. His competitive spirit and creative interest led him to build a five-ton hydraulic press in his basement, which he used to create sail fittings to facilitate quick sail changes, giving him an advantage over his competitors. These, however, frayed the cable rigging popular at the time. His solution to this problem was to design a solid rod rigging.
He patented the design and the Navtec rigging company was born. Navtec rigging could soon be found on many of the world's fastest sailboats and was used by Ted Turner on his boat Courageous to defend the America's Cup in 1974. Navtec rigging was also used in I.M. Pei's Louvre Pyramid installed at the Louvre Museum, Paris, where it can be seen today.
Ken and Sandra moved to Peterborough in 1980 and developed several hydro-electric generation sites and restored the Noone Falls Mill on the Contoocook River, Peterborough. Ken built his fastest sailboat ever, a 40-foot trimaran, also called Skyhook.
Ken is survived by his daughters, Eleanor of Peterborough and Ann and her husband Mark Atamian of Southborough, Mass.; his son, Kenneth and wife Cassandra of Philadelphia; his five grandchildren, Kenneth Lyne and Anneliese Maria King of New York City, Lana Noel, Shari Ann and Markus Gilleon Atamian of Southborough, Mass.; his former daughter-in-law, Maria, of New York City.
services: Services will be held at All Saints Church, 51 Concord St., Peterborough, on Monday, July 29, at 10 a.m. There will be a celebration of Ken King's life at 1 River St., Peterborough, after the services. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent in his memory to UC Berkeley, College of Engineering, 201 McLaughlin Hall, No. 1722, Berkeley, CA 94720-1722.