Thank you to all who attended the memorial.
Dr. Kenneth L. Hull (1948-2016) died peacefully on 01/12/16 in Ventura CA at 67 years of age, after a protracted and difficult illness. He was born in 1948 in Berkeley CA to Emeral Wayne Hull and Inez Mary Hull, but lived the majority of his childhood in West Covina, where he completed his K-12 schooling, graduating from Edgewood High School in 1966.
Ken, his siblings, and parents took full advantage of the growing numbers of amenities in Southern California of the ‘50s and ‘60s, generally taking a car trip nearly every Sunday to the mountains, beaches or desert, hiking in nature, studying local history, and partaking of the growing number of entertainment venues. Disneyland was a beloved spot, but visits to LA Museums, the Dodgers and Angels baseball games and to films at many storied Hollywood theaters were also favorites. The entire family traveled extensively in the US by car during the nearly annual, one-month summer vacations. These frequently included visiting relatives in Texas and Pennsylvania, but also involved enjoying nature through camping and hiking at a wide variety of National Parks from California to Maine. By the end of the last vacation in 1967, the family had visited 45 States, the District of Columbia and two Canadian Provinces. Meanwhile at home, Ken demonstrated an early interest in science. He constructed his own “Brainiac” computer, built a Newtonian-Cassegrain telescope with friend Tom Todd by grinding their own 15 inch mirror, and performed numerous chemical experiments, including developing photos, in the garage, all before going to college. He attended Cal State Fullerton University and received a B.A. in Chemistry in 1970. He then pursued graduate studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, receiving a M.S. in Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics in 1979, the latter for developing computational methodologies for “detecting the undetectable gamma ray”.
During this time, Ken went out on a blind date set up by his good friend Vicky. Here he met the woman he would eventually marry, Jackie. However, it almost didn’t come to be as the date started out, in a word, disastrous. His love of singing and driving, however, changed Jackie’s mind about him and the rest was history. They were married in April 1975 and celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in 2015.
Ever the California kid, Michigan winters proved to be too much for him so six months after their wedding, Ken and Jackie moved back to California. They would relocate several times for his work eventually staying in Las Vegas, NV. Eventually though, his work and long daily commute became too routine and dull. He relished a challenge. So, he began to apply to other, more stimulating, positions. He ended up getting transferred by EG and G Corporation and relocated to their Goleta facility back in Southern California.
He loved the many opportunities he had through this company’s contracting. He was able to travel across North America and Europe to collaborate on national safety and reliable energy. He relished these trips to meet and discuss with other scientists from around the world. He also traveled across the U.S. working with various government agencies including the Secret Service under three different presidents.
Ken loved to travel for work or pleasure. He loved meeting new people and, as he put it, “going exploring”. He loved taking the road less traveled even though that often led him into scrapes: such as the time he took a dirt road and found himself surrounded by armed guards all aiming their guns at him. He had millions of stories similar to that one.
The 90’s were a difficult period for him. He dealt with the folding of EG and G, the loss of his father and father-in-law, as well as his own financial and medical difficulties. However, he made the best of things and decided to pursue another of his passions: teaching.
He started out at the community college level. He would spend hours preparing for his classes. He wanted to make the classes as fun and engaging as possible. Sadly, he found that his hands were increasingly tied by administrators. So, although he enjoyed teaching at the Community College level, he decided to try his hand at high school science.
In 1997, he joined the L.A. District Intern program. He was placed at Jordan High school in Watts. Any sane individual would have been nervous about attending this school after the veteran teachers’ tips. Perhaps he felt protected by his 6’8” height, but mostly his philosophy meant that he never judged a book by its cover and thus he went into his classes not nervous, but excited. He was excited to share the joys of science, especially physics and chemistry, with the students. He quickly discovered that there was a language barrier with many of his students. However, explosions and his “mad-scientist” laugh transcended all languages. He caught and, more importantly, held their interest. He also respected them. He knew that they were capable of amazing things and wanted to make sure that they knew it very well. As a consequence, he would go out into “The Projects” day or night to tutor the students, chat with parents, or just hang out with the families. He cared about every last one of them. He also had no sense of fear or danger. That’s the kind of guy he was. He would be so blinded by his desire to help others, he wouldn’t notice the danger he put himself into, nor the toes he may be stepping on. He never was able to understand office politics, so his time at Jordan was cut short.
Shortly after he left teaching, he became disabled. This made it difficult for him to pursue some of his passions. Instead, he turned to what he considered the most important aspect of his life: his immediate family.
He felt as though by working so hard, for so long, across the U.S. and abroad, that he had been neglecting his daughter Katherine. She was his world and he wanted to be as much a part of her life as possible. He was immensely proud when she graduated from high school and then again when she attended, and graduated from, his Alma Mater. He pushed her to be the amazing person he knew she was. He would also come down and visit her any chance he had often fitting in a trip to Disneyland at the same time.
Sadly, in 2012, he became very ill and never fully recovered. On January 12, 2016, he passed away peacefully surrounded by his wife, daughter, and sister while listening to his favorite book.
He is predeceased by his parents, their siblings, and two of his daughters, Karen and Kelly Hull.
He is survived by his Wife Jacqueline K. Hull, their daughter Katherine E. Hull, his sister Shirley Kovacs, his brother Barry Hull, his nephew Kent Kovacs and niece Elaine Kovacs.
He will be dearly missed by all who knew him.