Kenneth Chew passed away unexpectedly but peacefully, early Friday morning in his sleep. He was a beloved husband, father, soon-to-be grandfather, brother, and uncle. He is predeceased by his father, Joe Chew, Sr., and mother, Mary. Ken is survived by his loving wife, Mary; children, Christopher (Kellee) and Courtney (Jared); sister, Kay Low, and brother, Joe Chew, Jr. (Nancy). Nieces and nephews include Leland, Jeanette, Marisa, Clarissa, Amy, and Connor.
Ken’s presence was memorable, not a man that would easily fade into the background. He possessed an enthusiastic and energetic demeanor. With family, friends, and business colleagues, he was known for his generosity in both spirit and in deed. He especially gave of his time; no matter if you had known him for decades or just a few hours, Ken had time for you. He enjoyed meeting people and would happily engage everyone he came into contact with.
Ken was born in Oakland, California, and graduated from Oakland High School. He learned to play the tuba in junior high school and added the saxophone during high school. He enjoyed all sports, excelling in wrestling and football, and he continued playing linebacker with a semi-pro football team until the birth of his first child. Ken graduated with an undergraduate degree in Chemistry from San Francisco State University and an M.S. in Chemistry from San Diego State University. As a student, Ken worked for the Naval Underseas Center, where most employees wore T-shirts and shorts to work. Though he had hopes of finding a job after graduation with a similarly laid-back dress code, it was not to be, as his first job was with IBM, which required male employees to wear a jacket and tie.
Nevertheless, Ken thrived in this professional setting. The position at IBM brought him back home to the Bay Area, where he resided first in San Jose and then for 30 plus years in Cupertino. He worked for several other companies in Santa Clara County, including Xerox and Solectron, before initially retiring at age 55. On a trip to Carmel, he ran into a friend who talked him out of retirement, and went back to work for NetApp before finally retiring in 2016.
In retirement, Ken expanded his cooking and gardening skills. Some of his dishes, like Chinese sticky rice, were requested year after year for family get-togethers. These cooking skills were also put to use at the Cupertino Senior Center where he helped prepare meals for monthly events. Outside of the kitchen, Ken could often be found maintaining the garden and tending to his crops – often donning his favorite tank tops and shorts even in the wintertime. He planted an assortment of fruit trees and took great pleasure in sharing the bounty with family and friends.
Traveling was enjoyed by the whole family. Domestically, there were trips to Lake Tahoe, southern California, Disneyland/Disney World, Hawaii, a friend’s farm on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, up and down the East Coast, and most recently to Omaha to celebrate the marriage of his daughter. Ken and his wife, Mary, expanded their love of travel internationally to Asia, Europe, and South America.
Ken was greatly loved and will be forever missed, but will live on in our hearts and in our memories.
A Celebration of Life will be held for Ken at the Cupertino Senior Center, 21251 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino, CA 95014 on Saturday, January 26, 2019 from 2:00 – 5:00 pm. The family invites all who knew and loved Ken; and would appreciate hearing shared remembrances of him during this celebration.
*** Permit parking is required in the Cupertino Senior Center parking lot. Parking passes, available in the lobby, should be placed on the dashboard of your car.