Machinist Mate 1st Class - "A" Division & MAA
"Charter member of America's
August 26, 1923 - July 25, 2006
~My Dad inspired this website and my life and both are dedicated to his memory~
Memorial Guest Book
KENNETH ALEXANDER Passed away on July 25, 2006, following a long battle with diabetes. Ken was 82 years old and a 35 year resident of Riverside, California. He was born in Los Angeles, California on August 26, 1923. His mother Isabelle, was a Scottish immigrant from Edinburgh, Scotland and his father was a tile setter from Los Angeles and a WWI veteran. He is survived by his loving wife, Berniece, of 35 years whose undying devotion to her husband allowed all of his family and friends to share many years with him. He is also survived by 6 children. His 2 sons, Kenneth (wife, Sherry), and Dennis (wife, Lorene) and his daughter, Bonnie (husband, Rex Varney), his 3 step-sons Mike Allan, Kenny Allan and Tom Allan (wife, Lisa) and 13 grandchildren. Kenneth was a U.S. Navy WWII Veteran and served 4 years aboard the great Battleship USS PENNSYLVANIA BB38 in the Pacific. He was a Machinist Mate 1st Class in "A" Division. Ken worked for Bell Telephone Company for several years and then became a firefighter for the city of Pasadena, California for 22 years. Services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, July 28, 2006 at Akes Family Funeral Home, 9695 Magnolia Avenue, Riverside, CA 92503, (951) 785-4071. He will be buried at Riverside National Cemetery with full military honors. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to the Diabetes Foundation or call 1-800-DIABETES, 1-800-342-2383
This is the day that I hoped would never come, July 25, 2006. My heart is screaming in pain and my soul feels empty. This man, my father was my life. My final words seemed so inadequate. A truly great man, not just because he was my father but because he was..., I will hold him in my heart and soul forever, and cherish the memories and legacy he has left with us..., I will always love, honor and remember you Dad, you are my life....
God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle's flight,
The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,
Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
He called it ... Dad
July 25, 2006
Eulogy for My Father - Kenneth Alexander Munro
We are joined in sorrow today mourning the death of my father, Kenneth Alexander Munro. While we take time to mourn Dad's passing, I think it is important that we celebrate his life as well.
How delighted Dad would be to see each one of you here. I know he would be humbled that you have taken time from your busy schedule to be here today, and on behalf of our family, I would like to thank you for your prayers and support. I know they will comfort us in the days yet to come.
Dad leaves behind those of us weeping tears. Behind our tears of sadness, however, we are filled with love for this man. We include mom, Berniece, to whom Dad was married to for 35 years and my sisters and my brothers Bonnie, Dennis, Tom, Kenny, Mike and myself. Our family has experienced great sorrow in the past with the death of those we love, and hence, Dad now joins his brother Tom, his sister Eva, his grandchild Chad and his mother Isabelle, who have preceded Dad in death.
There is so much to say. I will try to highlight what I feel and hope that those of you that knew him will help me fill in the amazing life of Ken A. Munro and how knowing him has changed or affected your life.
Dad was a simple man who led a simple life. He was a member of "The Greatest Generation" of which I will speak of in a few moments. As most of you know Dad was of Scottish decent, and he suppressed his emotions publicly, even though he felt them deeply. Even in his final days, battling his last fight, Dad's admirable tenacity and strength shown through.
Dad joined other men who led this country through battle in World War II as a member of "The Greatest Generation". Dad was always proud of his service aboard the United States Battleship USS Pennsylvania during the War and that his participation in the war effort was a commendable and courageous one. He was also a firefighter for the city of Pasadena for 22 years, again commendable and courageous. Saving lives and helping others, this was Dad. Giving and asking nothing in return. Courage.
Dad led a long, full life that was filled with rewards. I don't believe he had many personal regrets at the end of his life, and I think that when he died, he did so knowing that he had led a life filled with dignity, honor, integrity, compassion and true love for his fellow man and that alone leaves a wonderful legacy. Dignity, Honor, Integrity, Compassion, Love.
Every one of us here today shares in his legacy and we each carry a part or all of what this great man has shared with us, and he shared in what each of us, in return gave back to him. If this great man touched your life and warmed your soul then we are better husbands, fathers, brothers, sisters, mothers, sons, daughters, wives, and human beings because of him, his kindness and devotion was unwavering. One key influence for me, his very interaction with mom (Berniece), he demonstrated to me what true love is. He absolutely adored Mom and we all knew it! To be able to mirror their marriage would be one of the highest tributes I could pay to my Dad. I am 25 years into achieving that goal.
Had anyone asked Dad what his finest legacy to the world would be, I have no doubt that he would have had just one answer, "my family", as he truly lived his life in devotion to us and we will carry his spirit into the future because while he leaves us in body, his spirit and legacy remain. “Family”
Dad inspired me in so many ways. He was a man filled with honesty and he was a wonderful role model. He always inspired me to excel at any task that I pursued and I always appreciated his support. I always marveled at Dad for having the ability to remain strong, even in the most difficult situation. I sometimes wondered what he was truly thinking, even though he wore a brave front as he faced adversity with full force. He was a master at “things”, his mind was sharp and precise, and he could do anything, although he left the electricity to me and my son Shawn. If he inspired any of you that are here today, I hope you will share that with us all.
Dad loved to go to a camping and fishing, Gaviota was a favorite. All of us kids carry with us the memories of those trips as do the friends and families who shared those times with us. I could go on for hours here about these memories. I always came away from these outings with a sense of calm and well being, they were such an important part of our lives. I can remember the time I caught my first fish, at Yosemite, with my Dads brother Don, his wife Shirley and my cousins Don and Gary, all of us sharing the memories. It was times like these that repeated themselves in all generations that followed. Sharing
As with most father son relationships of men our ages and era, we had our moments early in my life. I have written a poem that was given him almost 10 years ago on his birthday that addresses this that I will share that with you in a few moments. I am proud to say, however, that over the past 30 years, we were able develop profound respect, admiration and love for each other, we formed an unbreakable bond. I like to think that Dad was proud of me and that he felt I lived my life well, as I was trying my best to emulate him.
He inspired me to look at an entire generation, America’s Greatest Generation! The last 10 years have been spent knowing and understanding what his generation has accomplished and its contribution to the world and the lives of those of us that are directly affected. Never in history has so many given so much. It started for me 10 years ago soon after Dad had started his battle with Diabetes, he asked me to get down a box of memorabilia from the Battleship Pennsylvania. As he and I looked through this small cache of history something happen to me, I looked up and saw not only my father, not just my hero but an American Hero. Life changed. He encouraged me to use my talents and develop a little piece of history for all to see, today more that 240,000 people have shared his dream and many of them have deeply touched my life. We attended several Battleship reunions and I watched and listened as this great man rekindled life long friendships and memories. From the over 400 crewmen listed on the memorial to the heart felt letters of love and respect for these great Americans; for me, it has been a magnificent journey. Thank you Dad..
I can not end without mentioning our second family. Berniece, you are so special, your love and devotion to our father is unlike any other relationship. Thank you mom; we love you so much. To Lisa Allan, what would we do without you, you gave us back our mom and you made our lives and the complex circumstances more livable. Your tireless efforts will never be forgotten. Thank you for all that you have done, you and Tom Allan are our rocks and our steady ground. To Kenny Allan, your guardianship over our father and help and support that you have given in these trying times has made a huge difference in all of our lives, IOU Bro…
We are all going to miss Dad. I don't think he would want any of us to feel remorseful at his death. He would want us to go on with our lives and be the very best we can be. He lived a good life, he lived with people he loved, and he knew he was loved. Simply put, what more could a man ask for?
On the days when I'll be missing my Dad the most, I'm going to make an effort to concentrate on what made him so special to me. I think I'll try to envision Dad, up in the heavens with God, watching over all of us, with a smile on his face.
In closing I would like to ask each and every one of you here today to remember him always, remember the key words spoken here, “Family, Dignity, Honor, Integrity, Courage, Sharing, Compassion and Love”, he was the essences of all of these things, lock them into your lives, inspire others, and in this way we will all honor and revere his memory forever….
Rest in Peace Dad…
Written by Ken Munro, Son, July 27, 2006
The following simple poem is something that is special to me. There are parts in it that only Dad would understand but I will tell you this that the part about the Salton Sea is a story in itself. We were on a fishing trip and in a little boat and going out to the fishing area; Dad was driving at the back. The boat encountered a little wave and there was a splash, when I turned around a few seconds later he was gone, he had fallen out of the boat and was waving his arms yelling at me to get back there and pick him up. For anyone who knows the Salton Sea, its maximum depth is probably only 20 feet, and where we were at was about 6 feet deep, I never laughed so hard... Also, the reference “we traveled Oceans” refers to our Navy times; mine was 20 years after his, same oceans, same seas. I hope you enjoy this...
As the years have gone by like the ebbing tide,
I find a need to let you know what I feel inside.
What all the years has meant to me,
the importance of you to me, for all to see.
We all start out with a pure clean slate,
how we turn out is never just fate.
I was life's putty and you were my mold,
with the love in your heart a man did take hold.
I often made it hard for you to smile,
I know that sometimes you walked the mile.
I occasionally thought I could have been,
a model child, not wearing you thin.
The discipline you gave was tough at the time,
as it turns out, you did it just fine.
It took a while for me to see,
the wisdom of your love will always be.
To teach me things that I now know,
like morals, respect and courage to grow.
To teach me the truth and right from wrong,
and things like honor just went along.
Don't ever doubt that you did the best,
God knows that I was really your life test.
One memory that remains so clear
And that I hold so close and is very dear
Is when you brought home a bike for me to ride,
then taught me how, you and me, side by side.
When I fell down and was scared and hurt,
you picked me up, brushed off the dirt,
Get back on, you would say,
You can do this Son, trust me… ok?
You made me help with work to be done,
which I loathed at time because it was not summer fun.
But what felt like work to me then,
Was really time together, just us "men"
It took me years to see it clear
The lessons of life were in the mirror.
I looked to you for all the clues,
of how a man must pay his dues.
Now I'm succeeding in the things I do,
I've earned respect, just as all have for you.
We laughed together and told some tales,
of the big ones that got away, that must have been whales.
We have sailed the Oceans and the Salton Sea,
two in the boat and then there was just me.
In my memories of days gone by,
a special moment caught my minds eye.
The race to the corner with the worlds greatest man,
who made me feel special and taught me "I can".
"Pace Yourself, Pace Yourself" still rings in my ears,
50 years later, it still brings the tears.
I have spent all these years chasing this goal,
Of why this memory is so attached to my soul?
I think I now know where the pieces all fall,
being loved by one who gives their all.
That was the day that I knew for sure,
You loved me Dad, so simple, so pure.
All my traits are because of you,
you did the best job you could possibly do.
The finished product's not so bad,
so here's to you,
I love you, Dad.
By Ken Munro
More to come