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Kenneth G. Crump Jr. died peacefully at his home on July 19, 2023, being where he loved, doing what he loved, talking to his grandchildren Spencer and Shawn and emphasizing that he had lived a good and long life.
He was born on January 25, 1931 to Kenneth and Evangeline Crump in Pittsburgh, PA. Ken attended schools there with his younger brother Ted until middle school when the family moved to Berkeley and then Pleasanton, following his father’s assignment during WWII. Upon returning from deployment in the Pacific theater, his father took the family back to Pittsburgh. Ken and his brother got their first jobs at that time, selling sodas at Pirate baseball games, until they were caught sitting and watching the games and were fired. Two years later, the family relocated to Red Bluff, CA.
After graduating high school in Red Bluff, Ken joined the Air Force Fighter and Bomber Group as a photographer and saw action in the Korean War. With the GI bill, he returned to San Jose State University where he received his BA, MA, and teaching credential. While in college, he met and married Marcia Freeland and they started a family together having David Wesley Crump in 1956 and Thomas Edward Crump in 1958.
Like his father, Ken became a teacher, first briefly in Placerville and Sunnyvale before starting in at a newly built school in Cupertino, Homestead High School, where he stayed as head of the history department until his retirement. He remained good friends with many fellow teachers, some for more than 60 years. Ken was part of a “Brunch Bunch” where a group of about 8 teachers and their spouses would regularly get together once a month, even throughout his retirement years. His lasting friendships from teaching also included some of his former students who were still recently in touch more than 40 years after having had him as their teacher.
Friendships were very important to him and there was none better than Jim Byrne, who was also a fellow teacher and they continued to get together regularly since 1963. Duane Larsen, another retired teacher, was also a good friend after Ken’s move to Santa Rosa and they enjoyed doing home projects together.
In 1964, Ken and Marcia purchased a waterfront property on Lopez Island in the San Juan Islands, Washington and built their Summer home in stages over many years. Ken and Marcia would host many of their friends and relatives at the cabin over the next two decades. The island home was eventually sold and upon retirement, Ken and Marcia moved to Sonoma where they built their own home. When the property upkeep got to be too much, they moved to Oakmont in Santa Rosa in 1996.
Upon the death of his wife in 2000, Ken became partners with Jackie Evans, a friend and neighbor from the early 1960s, who had just lost her husband. They would spend half of the year in Oakmont and the other half in Virginia and Maryland at Jackie’s homes, typically taking leisurely drives across the country.
Throughout his life, Ken enjoyed photography contributed to magazines and books. He also authored three books, including one on his favorite historical figure, Napoleon Bonaparte. He also loved to travel and made many trips to Europe, some leading student groups and others with friends or family. He also traveled to Asia, Australia, and a more recent family safari trip to South Africa. He was also active in the Korean War Vets group in Sonoma County.
Ken was not one to embrace technology and change easily and only got rid of his typewriter in the last 10 years. There were also numerous trips to the phone store when he was convinced his phone was broken, but he had actually put the phone on mute. It was still not so clear to him how someone could check their emails from a computer that wasn’t theirs. After years of rejection, Ken finally agreed to try a landscaping service. He loved it. Then there was the need for a housekeeper, to which he finally relented. Then an angel arrived in a the form of a caregiver, disguised as his housekeeper. (The only way he would accept her at first.) Emily Haralson became a valuable helper, caregiver, and friend to Ken and allowed him to stay in his home in the past year.
Ken is survived by sons David Crump of Sparks, NV, and Thomas Crump and daughter in-law Inger, of Santa Rosa, CA, as well as three grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.