Obituary: Kenneth (Ken) Allen Selvidge, Sr.
Kenneth (Ken) Allen Selvidge, Sr., of Tahoe City and San Francisco, California, passed away suddenly after suffering a heart attack at his Tahoe City home on January 11 at the age of 71.
The two-term Tahoe Yacht Club commodore (1996-97) and secretary of the club’s Foundation (2005-08), host of the Concours d’Elegance wooden boat show, was a lover of all things Tahoe. Although still maintaining a home in San Francisco, he delighted in showing off the lake and Tahoe Basin to family and friends from aboard Gargeous, his 1947 Gar Wood runabout or on skis from the top of Squaw’s KT-22.
Always an adventurous sort, the Poplar Bluff, Missouri, native became a pilot at 16, developing a passion for flying that lasted his lifetime. After becoming a successful businessman, he became a member of Angel Flight West, a network of volunteer pilots who, with their own planes and paying all costs out of their own pockets, fly critically-ill patients to medical facilities that specialize in the care they need throughout the western U.S.
The successful entrepreneur and businessman, a graduate of the University of Missouri at Columbia, started his career in the lighting business at KASCO, a lighting manufacturer’s representative firm he founded in the early 1970s in Peoria, Illinois. Greater opportunity brought him to the Bay Area, where he founded California Architectural Lighting, Inc. (CAL Lighting) in 1984. With offices in San Francisco, Sacramento and Reno, Ken and his team played key roles in significant large-scale construction projects throughout Northern California and Nevada. After selling the assets of the company in 2003, Ken maintained an active membership in the professional association, Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) and went on to a part-time career as a lighting consultant working with the Tahoe Truckee Airport among other clients and also as a developer of 20 condominiums near the campus of Western Washington University in Bellingham.
Over the last 30 years in San Francisco, Ken was also very active in the Navy League, volunteering his time to Fleet Week with the Blue Angels and in the effort to move the USS Missouri to the Bay. He was also a long-time member of Olympic Club, America’s oldest athletic club, and a huge San Francisco sports fan. He loved baseball, especially his San Francisco Giants and could be found quite regularly in his seat right above the Giants’ dugout on the third base line near homeplate. When baseball season gave way to basketball, he’d be courtside at a Golden State Warriors game.
Ken is survived by his wife and partner of 23 years, Suzanne Selvidge; his son and daughter, Kenneth, Jr. (Angelica) of Bellingham, Wash., and Leah Selvidge (Nigel Smith), Austin, Texas; his sister, Judith Selvidge Sweet (Perry) of Old Hickory, Tenn.; granddaughters Ana LaNasa-Selvidge (Micah) of Seattle, and Amanda Selvidge, Kristina Selvidge Page (Scott), and great-grandson, Jacob Selvidge Page, all of Bellingham; niece Victoria Caflisch (Eric) of Honolulu; nephew Benjamin Sweet (Courtney) of Liberty, Mo.; and five godsons: Justin Moore of Denver, Colo., Andrew Moore of Little Compton, R.I., and Robbie, Max and Sammy Pollard of San Francisco.
A memorial celebration will be held in San Francisco on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 1 p.m., at the Green Street Mortuary, 649 Green St. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Thunderbird Lodge Preservation Society, online at thunderbirdtahoe.org; to the Junior Giants Community Fund, online at http://www.jrgiants.org; to the Tahoe Community Sailing Foundation, P.O. Box 1726, Tahoe City, CA 96145; or to the charity of your choice.
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