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Kenneth Downs


1924 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Kenneth Downs Obituary
Kenneth H. Downs

1924-2016

Kenneth H. Downs, long time resident of Manhattan Beach, has passed away at age 91. Born in Bakersfield, California in 1924, he served in the Coast Guard during World War II, married his bride Katherine Ellis in 1948, and graduated from USC in 1950. They were married 63 years before she preceded him in death in 2011.

Ken and Katie loved the beach and the lifestyle it offered. Four generations of Manhattan Beach children considered the Downs' house as their home away from home. Bicycles lined the front fence, surfboards and skateboards were stacked everywhere, sandy towels and flip flops where strewn about all over. You took a big risk using the water hose too long to rinse off, but no matter what there was always a tuna sandwich and an OK if you needed to use the phone to call your parents. For many, many years, the parents of Manhattan Beach entrusted their children to the care of Ken and Katie Downs.

Ken Downs worked hard to provide a home on the beach for his wife and four children. He did Public Relations for companies such as Atlantic Richfield, Pabst Blue Ribbon Brewery, Mobile Oil, Glendale Federal Savings and Santa Anita Racetrack. After retiring from corporate life, Ken opened "Beach Books" on Highland Avenue (across from the Bank of America)((circa 1980)), where he specialized in selling his original "Top Ten Beach Books for Summer". He loved reading, watching race car driving (especially the Indy 500), football and America's Cup sailing. He was an avid jogger, bike rider and expert body surfer (one fin).

Ken was a beloved fixture on the Strand, greeting his many friends and their pets on the daily stroll of his domain. His humor, kindness and respect will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Ken and Katie Downs are survived by three of their four children; Michael (and Alison) Downs, Thomas (and Janice) Downs and Andrew E. Downs. Their daughter, Claudia Petroni passed away in 2011. Surviving grandchildren include Morgan Brasfield, Max Downs, Vito Petroni, Sergio Petroni and Brandon Downs. Great grandchildren include Benjamin and Cate Brasfield.

A service in his celebration is being scheduled. Visit Rice Mortuary's website www.lafuneral.com to send the family messages and share memories. Sign the guest book at www.dailybreeze.com.
Published in Daily Breeze on Feb. 9, 2016
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