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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Kenneth Forbes

Dates:  no info - 1948, 20 September
Died:  USA, CA, Claremont
Citrus rancher in Southern California and photographer at the Santa Anita race track. He also took a series of snapshots of Mexico in 1936.
Exhibited in "The 1936 Mexican Snapshot Mystery", Santa Paula Art Museum (4 February, 2017 - 11 June 2017)
Obituary (1948)
Kenneth Forbes of Claremont
Dies at 52
CLAREMONT, Sept.20, 1948- Kenneth Forbes passed away early Sunday morning in St. Luke's hospital Pasadena. He was only 52 years old and there was much left to be done.
But Ken had already made a unique record as a builder of this part of the Southland. His passing will leave a gap, not only among his fellow ranchers in the Foothills area, and at the Santa Anita race track, where he had been chief photographer. His skilled hand as a technician was in many more projects than can be numbered.
Kenneth B. Forbes was born in a small town in Wisconsin. He came to California from Milwaukee 40 years ago, and after a short time in Ontario, he moved to Claremont, where he attended grammar school and high school.
Returned to Padua
During the First World War he attended Pomona College as part of his army training. He never completed his academic course because he was anxious to get to ranching. In 1919 he married Grace Gammon in New York and they returned to make their home at the Loma Vista Rancho on N. Padua Ave. near what is now Padua Hills. They have lived up there ever since since.
Since then the aspect of the once-rugged wash country has changed, and much of the facelifting was done by Ken Forbes himself. With his father J. J. Forbes, he is responsible for the development of a large part of the land north of Claremont. They cleared it, crushed the rock, planted the trees and brought water to it. Ken himself built a rock crusher near where the Norton school now stands.
Devoted to Improving Area
And despite a multitude of interests, it was the foothill area that held Ken Forbes’ heart and to which he devoted most of hisl abor. For over 20 years he has been secretary-manager of the Claremont Heights Irrigation company, maintaining and extending a water system serving the large area northeast of Claremont.
In the early days he was foreman in charge of construction for the Pomona Valley Protective Association, building roads, dikes and channels to guard the valley against the San Antonio canyon wash. He served for years under the late E.P. Steffa, the long-time secretary-manager, and in recent years has himself held that post.
Before the county established the fire station at Padua Hills he supervised the fighting of all fires in the foothill area, and had for 30 years been a volunteer deputy fire warden.
Interested in Theater
When the Padua Hills Theater was first organized , Ken Forbes was called on to “lend a hand”. It turned out that he was for six years superintendent of grounds, building and maintenance. During the era in the early 30s when the Community Players were staging their productions at Padua Hills, he supervised construction of all the stage sets and was stage manager for every show the players gave at Padua. He was later in charge of stage construction and management at Scripps college.
His hobby, which later became his profession, was 16-millimeter motion photography. He was called in to photograph the finishes at Santa Anita racetrack in the second year of its operation. Since that time he has been head of the racing association's race timing board and in charge of all identification.
He was widely known as a commercial photographer and in his spare time was instrumental in developing “time lapse” photography which enabled him to photograph the opening of flowers and the habits of small animals. His wildlife photographs have been given nationwide circulation. For all these activities, Ken Forbes had his own shops. He had his own photo darkroom and laboratory, complete plumber’s equipment, blacksmith, electrical and woodshop equipment. The ranch was a place of rendezvous for friends who used the equipment or persuaded Ken to make something for them. He had fashioned everything from a camera part to a rock crusher.
Death came in Pasadena after an 18 month illness.
Survivors are Mrs. Forbes; two daughters , Marcia Forbes and Mrs. Linn M. Pierson, both of Claremont; his father, J J. Forbes of Ontario, and a grandson, Forbes Malsolm Pierson.
Funeral services will be held in Todd Memorial North chapel at 4 p.m. Tuesday with Rev. Harland E. Hogue officiating. Private internment will be at Pomona mausoleum.

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