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Kenelm W. Coons

1931 - 2017 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Kenelm W. Coons Obituary
Kenelm W. Coons

Annapolis, MD

Kenelm W. Coons of Annapolis, MD, passed away on February 3, 2017, after a three-month illness. Ken will be deeply missed for his kindness, compassion, and humor. He was a great listener and gifted story teller with an inquisitive spirit, keen mind and quick wit.

Ken maintained an active interest in domestic and international affairs and the food world. He was an accomplished sailor and cook who introduced all of his grandchildren to his passion for sailing and seafood. A native Bostonian who also lived for decades in the MidAtlantic, his love of the sea, of reading and of travel made him a delightful companion and friend. He leaves behind a loving family and a wide circle of friends and admirers whose lives he had touched.

After graduating from Harvard College (A.B.'53), Ken served two years of active duty in Germany as an Army Signal Corps Sergeant. He then began his professional career in New York City in marketing, including at General Foods, where he led the successful introduction of Cool Whip.

Ken continued his career in the mid-Atlantic with companies including Iron Mountain and Doxsee Foods, and in 1970 moved to Hockessin, DE with his wife Sally and their three boys, where he was an active member of Red Clay Creek Presbyterian Church and the community.

Ken took a new direction in mid-life, earning his Master's in Marine Affairs at URI in 1978. After two years as Executive Director of the Rhode Island Seafood Council, he became Executive Director of the New England Fisheries Development Association (NEFDA) in Boston, a position he held for two decades.

During Ken's tenure, NEFDA co-founded the Boston Seafood Show, managed innovative projects promoting under-utilized species and enhancing seafood quality, and was appointed by the Secretary of Commerce as the first chairman of the National Fish and Seafood Promotion Council.

Ken was a frequent spokesman for the seafood industry in the media and before policy makers. During the final decade of his career, he served as Associate Editor of, and as a member of the National Press Club.

Ken was born July 5, 1931, in Cambridge, MA, the son of the late Quentin L. and Persis (Wallace) Coons. In addition to his wife Deborah, Ken leaves three sons, Thomas W. Coons (Jeanne) of Newark, DE, Sen. Christopher A. Coons (Annie) of Wilmington, DE, and Stephen K. Coons of Annapolis, MD; daughter, Lisa Griffith-Fintl (Helmuth) of Oestrich-Winkel, Germany; two stepdaughters, Blair B. Slaughter (David) of Cockeysville, MD, and Barrie B. Jansen (Thomas) of Moncton, N.B., Canada; brother, William W. Coons, of Newburyport, MA, and nephew, Jeffrey (Mary) Coons, of Smyrna, GA, and nine very special grandchildren.

A family memorial will be private. In lieu of flowers, those wishing to honor Ken's memory may contribute to the Kenelm W. Coons Marine Affairs Scholarship at URI. Donations may be mailed to URI Foundation, PO Box 1700, Kingston, RI 02881 (checks payable to URI Foundation, with scholarship name in memo line), or visit:
Published in The News Journal on Feb. 5, 2017
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