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Obituary: Kenneth Henry Kennell

Optometrist Kenneth Henry Kennell passed away on 5 January this year

Kenneth Kennell
It is with sadness that the OT reports the death of optometrist Kenneth Henry Kennell (pictured), who has died at the age of 90.

Mr Kennell is remembered by his daughter, Anne McMillan.

“Kenneth Henry Kennell was born in Ealing as the only son of Henry and Dorothy Kennell. Many may have known him as Tim, his enduring childhood nickname, that came from the cartoon character ‘Tiger Tim.’

“As a young man he elected to perform national service with the RAF, joining at Uxbridge in 1949. Ken narrowly missed being sent to Korea and instead developed trading relations with his fellow American airmen.”

During this period, his father, who had been running Oliver Goldsmith’s optical laboratory, left to set up his own glazing house in Clerkenwell, London.

Following his time with the RAF, Mr Kennell was keen to join the optical business, attending London’s Northampton Polytechnic to study optics and ophthalmology. Throughout the rest of his life he faithfully attended the reunions of the class of ’49.

Once qualified he entered practice at Northwood Hills and later opened up his own practice on Norbreck Parade, Ealing, as well as running the business in Clerkenwell.

“After a patient said his daughter could teach Ken to drive, he met Julia and they were married in 1964. Their three children arrived shortly afterwards and Ken consolidated his practice, retiring in 2016,” Ms McMillan continued.

“Latterly, he immensely enjoyed running clinics at Wormwood Scrubs – where the clientele were guaranteed to turn up.

“Ken joined The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers in 1952 and remained an active supporter. In 2010, he was proud to obtain the Freedom of the City of London for his three children, two of whom have continued in the family footsteps into optics.

“Outwardly a quiet, kind and considerate man, Ken had a playful mischievous streak and a cheeky smile. He was always interested in the latest optical developments and maintained a keen interest in gadgets; from being an early pioneer of in-door fireworks, music centres, the Walkman, touch sensitive televisions, to electronic Christmas cards.

“He was enthused by things that fascinated him; books, musicals and family history, spending time tracking down and visiting the grave of a cousin killed at Arnhem. He was also in constant pursual of a Kennell clock. He maintained his love of theatre and the silver screen and could be relied upon to provide a review or encourage attendance.

“Ken enjoyed entertaining his six grandchildren, remaining active and alert until his death following a sudden, brief illness.”

He is survived by Deidre and his children Clive, Clare and Anne.

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