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Kenneth Love ’55

Kenneth Love and Inge Ruth Leeds Love ’58

March 1, 2021, in Portland

Ken was the youngest of four siblings growing up during the Depression in Lynden, Washington. He came to Reed as a Baker Scholar and wrote his thesis, “Peano Spaces,” advised by Prof. Joe B. Roberts [math 1952–2014]. Ken was student body vice president his senior year, and won a Rhodes Scholarship that allowed him to continue his math studies, with an emphasis on topology, at Christ Church, Oxford University.

After returning to Portland, he resumed contact with his Reed friends and considered what to do next. He landed a job as an industrial specialist with IBM, which proved a good place to work and offered training opportunities to keep abreast of new developments.

For a time while working at IBM, Ken shared digs with Greg Smith ’56, who was filling in as the dean of students at Reed. Ruth Leeds ’58 had returned to campus to teach for a year while Prof. John Pock [sociology 1955–98] was on sabbatical. Greg invited her on a weekend outing to Orcas Island, where she met Ken. Discovering that they shared many interests, including the outdoors and hiking, they began dating and then married.

“There was a joke in the Portland IBM office that once someone kissed Mt. Hood, he refused to move to an IBM office in another city,” Ruth recalled, “and IBM was always moving employees around.” Ken worked in the Portland office until he turned 55, when he became eligible for retirement.

Ken lived weekends to the fullest, enjoying the outdoors while backpacking or checking out wildflowers in nearby mountain meadows. He devoted time and effort to growing flowers on the land around their house, and over the years became an expert on Pacific Northwest blooms. He was also active in the national Rock Garden Society and served for a year as its president. He and Ruth traveled to many parts of the globe, from Antarctica to Vienna (where she was born) and many of the tiny islands on the Pacific. As they aged, they opted for easier but still enjoyable trips like cruises. Ruth survived him, but died two months after Ken.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2021

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