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Kenneth Lee Alford



AAFA #0934

1921 CA –1999 HI


Photo from Honolulu Star-Bulletin




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 KONA-TV.

            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.


In another article:



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 Hospital.

            He was born in Watsonville [Santa Cruz Co.], Calif.

            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, AAFA #0930.



Watsonville (District 250), Santa Cruz Co., CA

Dwelling #61


Fred H. Alford            head               34         CA      railroad switchman

Sarah                           wife                34         NE

Warren                        son                  13         CA

Eugene                        son                  11         CA

Leroy                           son                    8         CA

Dorothy                       dau           2-5/12         CA


It 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:


San Francisco Assembly District 24 (District 316), San Francisco Co., CA

Dwelling #181


William. Ballinger       head               53         Can, Eng, Eng street sign writer, emigrated 1866

Marie E.                      wife                57         CA AR VA

Alice                            daughter         11         CA Can CA               

Fred Alford                 stepson           31         CA IL CA                   fireman, single

Harry N. Alford          stepson           25         CA IL CA                   first marriage 4 years, RR painter


1910 CENSUS [parents living apart]

Redwood, Santa Clara Co., CA

Dwelling #157


W.C. Purviance           head               65         OH KY OH    first marriage 31 years

Almira                         wife                49         NE IN IN        4 children, 4 living

Dorsey                         son                  18         NE OH NE

Alvira Alford              daughter         24         NE OH NE     first marriage 4 years, 2 children, 2 living

Warren                        grandson          3         CA CA NE

Eugene                        grandson          1         CA CA NE


San Francisco Assembly District 33 (District 68), San Francisco Co., CA

Dwelling #40


Wm. V. Ballinger        head               44         Can, Eng, Eng       first marriage 6 years

                                                                                                      RR sign painter

                                                                                                      emigrated 1866

Marie E.                      wife                47         CA AR VA           second marriage 6 years

                                                                                                      9 children, 6 living

Fred Alford                 stepson           22         CA IL CA             RR brakeman

Harry N. Alford          stepson           25         CA IL CA             first marriage 4 years

                                                                                                      RR painter

Alice M. Ballinger       adopted            2         CA CA CA



            AAFA records and 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.


Children [birth records from California Birth Index, 1905–1995 (]:


i.    Warren 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.

ii.   Eugene 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 Co., AZ.

iii.  Edward 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.

iv.  Dorothy Lavina Alford, b. 21 July 1917, Santa Clara Co., CA, mother’s maiden name Suroianc; m. Burton Smith.

v.   Kenneth Lee Alford. His birth record has not been located.

vi.  Elmyra Elizabeth Alford, b. 27 Sept 1924 in Santa Clara Co., CA, mother’s maiden name Puriranc.


            See Known Descendants of Charles Alford (1790 NC–1858 IL) & Mary Elizabeth Tipton for more information about Kenneth’s ancestors.

            His lineage: Kenneth Lee 1921 CA1, Harry Newton 1885 CA2, John Wesley 1853 IL3, Matthew Nelson 1819 AL4, Charles 1790 NC5.