1921 CA –1999 HI
Photo from Honolulu
Honolulu, Honolulu Co., HI—Friday, 3 December 1999
Ken Alford, 79, tuned isles into Dixieland
By Harold Morse
Ken Alford—Honolulu band leader, musician and
television personality—died yesterday in Straub Hospital. He was 79.
After his 1949 Hawaii arrival, he became an
announcer-writer with radio station KULA from 1949 to 1951 and with KGU from
1951 to 1953.
He made daily TV appearances on KGMB-TV as
Sheriff Ken in “Sheriff Ken’s Posse” from 1953 to 1958 and from 1958 to 1965 on
Musically a trumpet player, he and his Dixie
Cats band performed at a number of Hawaii hotels. During World War II Army
service, Alford played with jazz bands and was an entertainment director for
USO camp shows.
He organized his own Dixieland group here in
1950 and enjoyed a record-breaking 16-year Sunday evening run at the Moana
Hotel Banyan Court.
He performed at Hawaii arrivals of four
presidents—Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson and Nixon.
Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong not only attended the
wedding of Alford and Donna Nance, Satchmo also made a rare sit-in appearance
with Alford’s band. Another highlight was Benny Goodman’s sitting in with the
group to play his big hits of the 1930s.
Alford’s band performed for the 1959 Hawaii
Statehood celebration in Waikiki, also for the 125th anniversary of Parker
Ranch; and he played for a three-day grand opening of Lawrence Rockefeller’s
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel in 1965.
Another highlight was a 1977 Dixie Cats gig at
Hawaii Theater downtown for the 80th anniversary of the first Consolidated
movie showing here.
Tony Todaro, chronicler of Hawaiian musical
entertainment, summed up Alford’s contribution: “Ken Alford gave Hawaii a
Dixieland beat to its favorite Island melodies.”
He was named entertainment “Father of the Year”
in 1960 by the Honolulu Chamber of Commerce.
Born in Santa Cruz, Calif., he attended San Jose
State. He joined New York Life Insurance Co. in 1965 and later became a member
of its “Million Dollar Round Table.”
He is survived by wife Donna; sons Ken Jr.,
Thomas and John; daughter Nancy Alford; sisters Dorothy Smith [AAFA #0918] and
Myra McWhinney [AAFA #0930]; and one grandchild.
Services are pending.
Honolulu, Honolulu Co., HI—Saturday, 4 December 1999
Kenneth L. Alford, 78, of Honolulu, band leader
for the Dixie-Cats, will be remembered in a Mass 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at Star
of the Sea Church. Call after 11:30 a.m. Inurnment: National Memorial Cemetery
of the Pacific, Punchbowl. Aloha attire. No flowers. He died Thursday in Straub
He was born in Watsonville [Santa Cruz Co.],
He is survived by wife Donna; sons Ken, Tom and
John; daughter Nancy; sisters Dorothy Smith and Myra McWhinney; and a grandson.
AAFA NOTES: SSDI
records show that Kenneth L. Alford (SS# issued in CA) was born 11 April 1921
and died 2 December 1999, last residence Honolulu, HI.
We included the obituaries of his wife, Donna
Dale Alford, and son Kenneth Dale Alford in Hawaii Obituaries; and of his
brother Warren Newton Alford in California Obituaries.
Kenneth Lee Alford is buried at National Memorial
Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, HI. His gravestone says “S SGT, US ARMY.”
Kenneth has two sisters who are also members of
AAFA: Dorothy Alford Smith, AAFA #0918, and Elmyra Elizabeth Alford McWhinney,
Watsonville (District 250), Santa Cruz Co., CA
H. Alford head 34 CA railroad switchman
Sarah wife 34 NE
Warren son 13 CA
son 11 CA
son 8 CA
Dorothy dau 2-5/12 CA
is not clear why the head of this family is listed as Fred H. Alford when his
name was apparently Harry Newton Alford. His brother (see 1910) is named Fred.
Fred is listed separately in 1920:
Francisco Assembly District 24 (District 316), San Francisco Co., CA
Ballinger head 53 Can, Eng, Eng street sign writer,
E. wife 57 CA AR VA
Alice daughter 11 CA
Alford stepson 31 CA IL CA fireman,
N. Alford stepson 25 CA IL CA first
marriage 4 years, RR painter
1910 CENSUS [parents living apart]
Redwood, Santa Clara Co., CA
Purviance head 65 OH KY OH first marriage 31
Almira wife 49 NE
IN IN 4 children, 4 living
Dorsey son 18 NE
Alford daughter 24 NE OH NE first marriage 4
years, 2 children, 2 living
Warren grandson 3 CA
Eugene grandson 1 CA
Francisco Assembly District 33 (District 68), San Francisco Co., CA
V. Ballinger head 44 Can, Eng, Eng first
marriage 6 years
E. wife 47 CA AR VA second
marriage 6 years
children, 6 living
Alford stepson 22 CA IL CA RR
N. Alford stepson 25 CA IL CA first
marriage 4 years
M. Ballinger adopted 2 CA CA CA
AAFA records and Ancestry.com records—Family
Trees, California Birth Index 1905–1995, California Death Index 1940–1997, and
SSDI—provide further information on this family:
Harry Newton Alford; m. Sarah Lavina Purviance
(6 Sept 1885, NE–17 Apr 1965, Santa Clara Co., CA, mother’s maiden name Wyne);
daughter of Warren C. Purviance and Elmyra Teressa Wyne.
On Harry Newton Alford’s WWI Draft Registration
Card, he is age 33, a chief engineer for Geo. W. Pennington & Sons, living
in San Francisco. He provides his birth date, 15 Feb 1885, and names his wife
Sarah Lavina Alford.
records from California Birth Index, 1905–1995 (Ancestry.com)]:
Newton Alford, b. 7 May 1906, Santa Clara Co., CA, mother’s maiden name
Purvianc [Sarah’s maiden name is consistently misspelled in the CA Birth
Records]; m. Kathryn Lund. He d. 12 July 1993, last residence Campbell, Santa
Clara Co., CA.
William Alford, b. 3 Oct 1908, Santa Clara Co., CA, mother’s maiden name
Purviaha; m. Paula Bondi. He d. 10 July 1989, last residence Phoenix, Maricopa
Leroy Alford, b. 9 July 1911, Santa Clara Co., CA, mother’s maiden name
Puroianc; m. Lora Monning. He d. 29 Sept 1974, Los Gatos, Santa Clara Co., CA.
Lavina Alford, b. 21 July 1917, Santa Clara Co., CA, mother’s maiden name
Suroianc; m. Burton Smith.
Lee Alford. His birth record has not been located.
Elizabeth Alford, b. 27 Sept 1924 in Santa Clara Co., CA, mother’s maiden name
Descendants of Charles Alford (1790 NC–1858 IL) & Mary Elizabeth Tipton
for more information about Kenneth’s ancestors.
lineage: Kenneth Lee 1921 CA1, Harry Newton 1885 CA2, John
Wesley 1853 IL3, Matthew Nelson 1819 AL4, Charles 1790 NC5.