Ken H. James

Date of Birth

April 18, 1924

Date of Death

July 31, 2020

Ken passed away peacefully at his home, with his daughter Karen present, on his 75th wedding anniversary. Ken’s beautiful wife, Jenna, passed away February, 14 of 2016.

Ken loved life, and his loving, generous, hard-working and caring spirit will be missed by his family and many friends. He is survived by his children, Karen, Roger and David, his brother Vernon, 6 grandchildren, and 7 great-grandchildren.

A celebration of Ken’s life is tentatively planned on his birthday in April 2021 at his commercial property.

Through the years Ken made friends quickly wherever he was. Everyone who met him knew he had nonstop energy, loved to make “deals,” always had a project or two going on and was a tough and compassionate negotiator. He was a friend, father-figure and mentor to many, always ready to lend a helping hand, and sharing his blunt and wise point of view.

Ken was born on April 18th 1924 in Santa Paula, California to Lillian and Howard James. Ken served in the 2nd world war 1942-1945, with the Army Air Core as a flight instructor for B-17’s.

Ken married his childhood sweet heart Jenna Cox, while serving with the Army Air Core in Mississippi. In 1959, the family moved to Goleta, CA. Ken would become well-known in his community as establishing several construction businesses, including El Sol Plastering, Casa Plastering, Casa Insulation, and Santa Barbara Insulation.

Ken supposedly “retired” at 63. At this point in his life he went on a mission to take on the world, leasing buildings all over town, opening the “Upstairs Art Gallery and building the Casa Esperanza Building. He was captain of Santa Barbara’s Golf Club Men’s Team Play. He became an avid gardener, always creating magnificent gardens around his home. He became a Pilates student, and videos of him circulated around the world on Instagram, gaining over five hundred followers.

He played Pebble Beach & Spyglass with son David when he was 90, visited his son Roger and daughter-in-law Denise in Brazil at 93, and visited his daughter Karen in Mexico.

Ken shared his experienced wisdom of 96 years with those around him. One of our favorites is when asked “what could you have done more of” he said “Love, Love, Love.” He also told us to “listen to each other!”

Ken will be missed by all who knew this special man.

Ken leaves his brother Vernon (Annabeth) James, and nephew Stanley, daughter Karen Wight, son Roger (Denise) James, son David (Linda) James, grandchildren Jemal (Gina) James, Felicia (Terry) Hanna, Arlin (Stephanie) James, Jana (Michael) Atherton, Matthew Hall and Diane Price, great grandchildren Blayke Harrison, Jaxon James, Sora Hanna and Rowan Hanna, Hunter Victoria James and Noa James and Lucio De La Santos.


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