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Once again, we have to say farewell to another prolific designer of boat plans for the amateur builder. Naval Architect, Ken Hankinson, passed away April 25, 2018. He will be greatly missed, but his designs will live on in all the boats he designed and are built by Glen-L builders all over the world.

Ken worked here at Glen-L for about 22 years from 1965 to 1987. He and Glen used to go out for lunch just about every day. When I was a little girl, I would come to the office from time to time and package fastening kits or collate instructions and I got to go out with dad and Ken sometimes. I enjoyed his company and he and my dad were very close.

Ken & Elaine Hankinson – 2007

In addition to all of the boats that Ken designed when he worked for Glen-L, he was also responsible for our epoxy line–Poxy-Shield and Poxy Grip. He did all of the research and had the products formulated specifically for our builders. My dad always said that Ken was the type of person that really did his research and was very thorough. He also designed a furniture line for Glen-L that never quite got off the launching pad, but one of the coffee tables was built and I always thought it was such a beautiful piece. You can read the article about that line on our site

Another thing about Ken is that he was an amazing pianist. When I was young and taking piano lessons, when he was at our house, he’d sit down at the piano and take a piece of music I’d been struggling with and play it with simplicity. He was so good at reading music and he loved it. One of the last times I spoke with him, he was excited about the new piano he had recently purchased. 

It’s hard to believe that Ken has passed less than a year after my dad. I’m honored to continue the business that my dad and Ken built over the years. Ken leaves behind his beautiful and kind wife, Elaine and son Eric, daughter Kathy and his grand children. Here is Eric’s comments in regard to the passing of his father:

It is with great sadness that I announce that my father, Ken Hankinson, died yesterday, peacefully in his sleep. He spent his last few days under the care of the (very thoughtfully-designed and extremely well-run) North Idaho Hospice house with my mom, sister, brother-in-law and myself at his bedside… …listening to his favorite music including Metheny and Brubeck and overhearing stories we told about him.

My father lead an amazing life. At age 12, he submitted his first boat design to the Westlawn School of Yacht Design. They wrote him a thoughtful reply and told him he needed a couple years of high school first before they would allow him to enroll. Despite this setback, there was no discouragement whatsoever and my father became a career naval architect designing dozens of pleasure boats and yachts, first working side-by-side with his mentor Glen L. Witt in Bellflower, CA and then on his own. He authored a number of books on boat construction techniques and was an early adopter of foam-core and carbon fiber boat construction (way back in the 80’s!). While going to school at LA City College and CSU Long Beach, he designed commercial storefronts and houses in Long Beach and Orange Park Acres (still standing). And, he designed and built his lakefront house in North Idaho where he and my mom have lived over the last 23 years.

At age 24, My father met and dated my mother before being shipped off to Germany as part of his Navy service during the Vietnam war. That might have been the end of things, but unbeknownst to him, his overly-persistent DNA had other plans… After the initial surprise, my dad quickly plunged into marriage and fatherhood with his usual intensity and enthusiasm. He loved playing and roughhousing with me and also my boys when they were young.

My dad had an amazing mind. So much of what I learned on philosophy, politics, finances, relationships, and the love of sport-cars came from him. And that is why it was so sad when the dementia starting setting in over the last few years…. However, that process was cut short by cancer. As sad as that is, at the end, he still knew who we all were, could have some level of conversation, and most importantly could still occasionally retort with a witty comment or pun. It could have been so much worse…

So I will choose to remember my father as he would want to be remembered: in his prime. I have included some photos, films, and video from those halcyon years accordingly.

I love you dad

Farewell Ken–we miss you already…


Ken & Glen–mid-60’s

Your Thoughts?

2 Responses to Ken Hankinson Will Live On In Our Hearts And In His Designs

  1. Bob Ramsey says:

    What a great pair of creative talent existed with Ken and Glen. We are benefactors of that creativity and I for one am glad that Gayle and company has continued their legacy. I intend to build more of their designs in the future and invite their spirits to accompany me on the water. Thanks

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