Kenneth E. Farrance of Crosslands passed away peacefully on July 20, 2022 at Chester County Hospital after a brief illness. He was 93 years old. Born on August 3, 1928 in Newbury, Berkshire, England, he was the son of Leslie Farrance and Winifred Palmer Farrance. Ken spent his early years in Poplar, London and Kent. His family moved to Lymington, along the southern coast of England in 1936, where Ken grew up swimming, boating, and enjoying Sea Scouts’ activities. He attended Brockenhurst Grammar School and College in the New Forest, and excelled in both academics, especially mathematics, and in sports, including field hockey and cricket. Ken completed an apprenticeship in aeronautical engineering, earning the equivalent of a bachelor of science degree, and was employed by British aero/marine-engineering company Saunders-Roe Limited on the Isle of Wight.
It was at a dance on the Isle of Wight where Ken met his future wife, Irene Gordon. They dated until she graduated from the University College London. Ken and Irene were married on August 18, 1956 on a windy day on the Isle of Wight. The couple settled in the county of Hertfordshire near Ken’s workplace, de Havilland Aircraft Company. Their first three children – Susan, Iain, and Alison – were born in England, but their youngest child, Christine, was born after the family emigrated to the United States in 1966, when Ken was offered a position as Wind Tunnel Test Engineer for Boeing’s VERTOL (later Boeing Helicopter) facility in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania. The family settled in Brandywine Hundred, north of Wilmington, in 1968, where Ken and Irene raised their family and lived until 2001. After 15 years living in the Fox Hill Farms community, Ken and Irene moved to Kendal-Crosslands in 2016.
Although his engineering career meant long days and rotating shift work in the wind tunnel, Ken always found time for family. Whether it was surviving the annual two-week tent camping trip (driving a station wagon packed with all six family members and associated camping gear to destinations up and down the east coast), taking kids swimming or ice skating, helping with Boy Scout events, unofficially coaching field hockey, attending kids’ sporting events, band concerts, or music recitals, learning to downhill ski at age 60, or helping with math and French homework and many art and science projects, Ken was always there for his wife and children. Ken had numerous interests and hobbies including gardening, woodworking, photography, bird watching, and reading science fiction and fantasy novels. He was known by his family for his unique sense of humor, love of puns, extraordinarily neat penmanship, broad knowledge about a wide range of topics, and ability to solve practical problems and challenges of all kinds.
As an empty-nester, Ken enjoyed competing with his Cardigan Welsh corgis at dog shows and was active in the Delaware Valley Cardigan Welsh Corgi Association. After retiring from Boeing in 1994, Ken spent many years taking a variety of classes and teaching drawing and calligraphy at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. The culmination of having time to focus and explore his artistic talent for watercolor and chalk pastels was a solo art show at Crosslands in 2017. Ken and Irene also traveled extensively – from many river cruises in Europe, to an Alaskan adventure, to exploring the southwestern US and Rocky Mountains, to visiting Australia and New Zealand. They also visited their children and grandchildren in numerous places across the years stretching from Northern California to Georgia, Arizona to Arkansas, Wyoming to Northern New York, and across the British Isles.
Ken was beloved by his twin granddaughters, Gemma and Rebecca. On visits with them, he shared his many hobbies, including painting, calligraphy, or reading fantasy novels together. They loved having British tea time with Grandad and Grandma Farrance, loved his wry sense of humor, and fondly remember him letting the corgis clean up his dinner plates.
Ken is survived by his wife, Irene; children (and spouses), Susan Davis (Ron Davis), Iain Farrance (Gail McLean), Alison Del Rossi (Dennis Del Rossi) and Christine Farrance; grandchildren Rebecca and Gemma Del Rossi; and his sister Maureen Flexeder.
Ken’s wife and children would like to express deep appreciation to the many Kendal-Crosslands Communities’ staff members who provided kind, friendly, personal, and professional care to Ken, especially over the past three years, and thoughtful, kind words to his wife and children after his passing.
A memorial service will take place in the William Penn Room at Crosslands on Saturday, July 30, 2022, at 2:00 pm, with light refreshments to follow.
Memorial donations in Ken's name may be made to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Wilmington, Delaware, https://ud.alumniq.com/giving/to/OLLIMemorial, or to the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Health Foundation, https://cardiganhealth.com/