May 24, 1938 - May 2, 2020 Kenneth (Ken) George Ness was born on May 24, 1938 in Bottineau, North Dakota and passed away from natural causes May 2, 2020 in Torrance, CA. He was 81. The first of four children, his loving parents, Kenneth and Frances Mae (Snell) Ness, owned and ran a creamery in North Dakota. Ken often recalled how his father would fly his small airplane across the unpopulated plains to deliver cream to customers, especially during the frigid winter months. At 9 years old in 1947, Ken's parents were tired of the difficult North Dakota winters and decided to move west to Inglewood, CA. His parents bought an 18-wheeler and outfitted it to comfortably move their belongings and first three children (Ken, Marilyn, 7, and Don, 5) to sunny Southern California. The family lived out of the truck for three months while the kids started school. Two years after arriving in CA, Ken's youngest sister Gayle was born in 1949. Ken attended Morningside High School and in May 1955, as a 17-year-old junior, Ken received the exciting opportunity to become the crew of a 110-foot schooner with his friend Bill Evans. The schooner was leaving to go shell searching in Micronesia. At sea for about two months, his ports included Honolulu, Hawaii and Palau, part of the western chain of the Carolina Islands near Japan. This was one of Ken's best memories, and he loved to share stories about his grand adventure with his children and grandchildren. Ken graduated high school in the class of 1956 and continued many of his close friendships from school throughout his long life. After high school, Ken attended El Camino Community College. In 1958, Ken joined the United States Navy. During his time in the Navy, Ken was part of the Naval Air Crew for a Lockheed P-2 Neptune. After leaving the Navy in 1962, Ken worked for Pacific Bell as a computer engineer. In 1963, he accepted a job in electronic engineering with IBM where he worked for 30 years. While working at IBM, Ken met his wife-to-be Sharon Lee Beagle while she was working for Mobil Oil processing IBM cards. They were married January 11, 1965, at Little Chapel of the West in Las Vegas. Eventually Ken and Sharon bought a house at 637 S. Gertruda in Redondo Beach, CA, five blocks from the beach. The first week in their new house, before all the boxes were unpacked, Ken and Sharon's first son was born, Kenneth Eugene Ness, on April 2, 1967. Their second son, Edward Gene Ness, was born on June 14, 1969. A hard worker, Ken was also a dedicated father. Ken was the boys' Little League coach and equipment manager for many years. The family spent many summers at Lake Powell, Lake Havasu and Lake Isabella boating and waterskiing. As a systems engineer at IBM, Ken had many accomplishments. He was instrumental in the development of computer systems for banking and financial institutions such as First Interstate Bank. Ken loved working with people and was a very successful trainer, traveling all over the country. Ken took an early retirement in 1992 and he and Sharon enjoyed traveling throughout the United States, especially proud that he visited all 50 states. Sadly, in 1993, Sharon passed away. Ken had always enjoyed working, so he began a successful consulting business with good friend Bob Mize. In 1994, Ken met his "Italian angel", Diane Miller, through his sister, Gayle. Gayle and Diane had become friends while they worked together as flight attendants. Ken and Diane enjoyed 19 years together and were avid world travelers and entertainers. Sadly, Diane preceded Ken in death in 2013. Kenneth George Ness passed away peacefully on May 2, 2020. He is sorely missed and will always be remembered for his generous spirit, big heart, love of life, sense of humor and warm infectious laugh. He is survived by his son, Kenneth Ness and wife, Natalie; son, Edward Ness and husband, Kevin Paolucci; his sister, Marilyn MacLeod and husband, Ian; his brother, Don Ness and wife, Lynn; his sister, Gayle Mahaffa; his grandchildren, Spencer Ness and Madeline Ness, as well as numerous loving nieces, nephews and friends. Memorial contributions may be made in Ken Ness' honor to Surfrider Foundation and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Published in Palos Verdes Peninsula News on Aug. 2, 2020.