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Kenneth Mathews van Loben Sels
May 28, 1948 ~ October 4, 2023 (age 75) 75 Years Old
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With heavy hearts, the family of Ken van Löben Sels shares with family and friends that Ken died on October 4, 2023 after a long battle with the blood disorder called MDS. Ken passed peacefully at the Mission House, operated by Mission Hospice, in Redwood City, CA after undergoing a bone marrow transplant at Stanford University Hospital. Ken is survived by his brother Dick of Safford, AZ, his spouse Blaine, his sons Michael [Sarah Areias] of Los Banos, CA, and Thomas, [ Sarah Gray] of Menlo Park CA. He loved his 7 grandchildren Emma, Owen, Jared, Bailee, Sophie, Kate, and Jillian and was so proud of their achievements in their schools and communities.
Ken was born in San Jose, CA but raised in Berkeley and Lafayette, CA. After graduating from Acalanes High School in Lafayette, he attended and graduated with a Degree in Agriculture Business from Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo. In his career, Ken managed the cultivation of melons and lettuce for Lindeman Farms on the Westside of Merced County, he worked in Sonoma and Napa counties in viticulture for many years before returning to Merced County to work for a large agricultural corporation in the Los Banos/Dos Palos/El Nido/Chowchilla communities. Ken took an unusually early retirement from that employer, but he enjoyed working part time in production then the transport units of Hilltop Ranch in Ballico CA, where almonds were processed and shipped to worldwide destinations. Ken loved that work, especially the people he worked with over the last few years of his career. Ken served two years on the Merced County Grand Jury and appreciated the important work that group did for the citizens of the County. Our family would especially like to express our love and appreciation to our friends Sandy Morimoto, and Mickey Barry for visiting Ken while he was hospitalized. Mickey sat at his side for a week offering Ken love and companionship during that time.
Ken was the proud father of his two sons, Mike and Tom. He was proud of their accomplishments in life, and was devoted to his spouse, Blaine. They had a strong and sustained union that lasted and thrived 32 years. He was embraced by Blaine’s family not only as a spouse, but a third son to Blaine's parents. Ken and Blaine enjoyed skiing and camping in their younger years, they enjoyed traveling together whenever Ken could get away during the summer growing seasons. When Ken retired, he and Blaine traveled to Europe and stayed months in Paris, France, and the area around Nice, and in Bordeaux, all locales where they had friends of many years. From 1997-2014, they owned a house near Copperopolis, CA. at Lake Tulloch where they would spend most weekends and holidays inviting Valley and Bay Area friends to join them. Ken was loyal to his neighbors in Merced, and was very thankful that Linda and Chris, among others, helped him so much in his final months. Ken’s greatest attributes, of many, were a strong sense of Loyalty, and his love of family. His energy would fill a room with joy and laughter. His absence leaves a void in our lives, and memories of him will take hours for people to share.
Ken requested a graveside ceremony. It will be held at the Winton District Cemetery where he will be interred next to Blaine and Blaine’s parents, on Monday October 30 2023, at 11:30am for invite friends and family only. Funeral arrangements were made through Wilson Family Funeral Chapel in Atwater, CA. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation, in Ken’s name to a charity of your choice.