Kenneth Reed was born in South Bend, Washington in 1926 and grew up in Bay Center. Ken’s mother (Leda Clark) was a Bay Center Native of Chinook and Chehalis descent. His father (Albert J.) was the descendant of Anglo pioneers, born and raised in Bay Center. Both Ken and his mother were enrolled in the Quinault tribe, though Ken never lived on the reservation. Ken’s mother attended the Cushman Indian School in Tacoma and did not pass on many Native traditions, but they were close to his Chinook maternal extended family. Albert Reed supported the family by working their oyster beds and as a machinist. His maternal grandparents were Annie Hawks (to which many Bay Center Chinook trace their descent) and Loyal Lincoln Clark. A studious child, Ken attended high school in South Bend, while many of his peers’ educations stopped after middle school. In 1942 the Reed family moved to Seattle for wartime work in the shipyards and Ken finished out the last two years of high school there. He was drafted right after graduation and served in the Army for about 22 months, mostly in Western Europe. Returning to Seattle after the war, he attended the University of Washington on the G.I. Bill and studied architecture.
He met his first wife in Seattle and had his first professional work in there as well, but the couple soon moved to the UK. He worked as a substitute teacher for some time in London’s East End, before they came back to the United States to find better employment. Ken relocated to New York City and got a job in an architecture firm, and his wife also got secretarial employment there. They found a comfortable place in Brooklyn Heights and had their first daughter. Ken enjoyed the cultural scene in New York and generally prefers city life. They only lived in New York for three or so years before moving to San Francisco. It was shortly after arriving in S.F. that Ken divorced. Ken met his second wife (Shirley MacIsaac, originally from Vancouver, B.C.) in S.F. and spent the rest of his professional architecture career in the Bay Area. In his retirement (from architecture) he opened an antique shop.
Once fully retired, Ken and Sam relocated back to the Northwest, living in Portland. This is when Ken started taking a greater interest in Chinook heritage and culture, attending tribal meetings and taking a few language classes which led to his interview in this project). Ken’s recollections of Bay Center and his maternal family are vivid and rich in detail that will be of great benefit to this project.