Ken Imus at his desk - animated as usual - probably explaining a building renovation idea. photo by John Servais

Ken Imus has died. He saved historic Fairhaven buildings.

By On
• In Bellingham, People,

Ken Imus loved Fairhaven. I had the pleasure of knowing him the past 15 years as I promoted Fairhaven and made a modest living with my website, Fairhaven.com. Ken was told by trusted friends that the website was good for Fairhaven and so he helped support it for 13 years - all while having no idea at all what the internet was. I sold the website a couple years ago and the new owners have made some cool changes and it continues to promote Fairhaven. And I’m sure Ken continued to support it.

When Ken started his acquisition of buildings in 1972, his actions were controversial. There were clashes between him and the young people who were involved with alternative lifestyles and businesses in Fairhaven. Many were my friends, and still are, and most of the clashes were probably unnecessary. But my friends were as itching for a confrontation with “the man” as strong willed Ken was ready to realize his dream for Fairhaven. I will try to write and set the record straight on some of these stories over the next year.

As we stand here today, 45 years later, we owe Ken Imus our thanks for saving the historic buildings. Without his efforts, we would have no historic Fairhaven. Simple as that. The city tried hard to get I-5 to go through Fairhaven and put a cloverleaf interchange where the historic district is. The city planning saw no value in the buildings. Ken Imus did and he bought all the old buildings that he could and started renovating them one by one. No mistake about it. The legacy of Ken Imus is Historic Fairhaven. He gave it to us.

Below is the obituary for Ken from his family.

Kenneth C. Imus

May 24,1926 - March 19, /2017

Ken Imus, age 90, passed away peacefully at home in Bellingham, WA, on Sunday, March 19, 2017. He was born May 24, 1926 in Bellingham to Loren and Mary Imus. Ken graduated from Bellingham High School in 1944. During WWII he served on a U.S. Naval ship and also studied engineering.

Following the war, Ken returned to Bellingham. Intent on pursuing his passion for hot rods and racing, opened his own auto body shop. In 1948 he married his high school sweetheart, Barbara Quinby. The racing stopped but his passion for cars didn’t. In 1949 the Golden State of California beckoned, and Ken and Barb moved to San Jose where they started their family and began Ken’s career in the auto sales business. His career led to ownership of multiple Ford dealerships, taking the family first to Dallas, and later El Paso, Texas. California continued to beckon, however, and in 1964 they returned to the SF Bay Area where they lived until they returned to Bellingham in 1997.

Ken was passionate about his work and was ALWAYS dreaming up and implementing a new project. During his time operating his dealerships he found that he enjoyed designing and building the dealer facilities as much as running the business, igniting his passion for building and architecture.

Beginning in the 1970s, Ken set out to revive Fairhaven by remodeling vacant and historic buildings. Over time, these architectural gems were restored and Fairhaven grew into a model for urban renewal. Fairhaven is now a popular tourist destination and continues to thrive. In more recent years, Ken’s interests included developing in Blaine.

Ken was preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Barbara, his son Tim Imus and brother Keith Imus. He is survived by son Brad (Jean) Imus, daughter-in-law Teresa Dalton, grandchildren Derek (Adriana) Imus, Brent Imus, Matt Imus, Kate Imus (Kevin Misiuda), Ashley (Coleman) Paige and Tessa Dalton, and great-grandchildren James and Chloe.

Memorials in Ken’s name may be made to the Whatcom Hospice Foundation, 2901 Squalicum Parkway, Bellingham, WA 98225. A special thank you to all of Ken’s caregivers over the past several years, we couldn’t have done it without you. A Celebration of Ken’s life will be held at Westford Funeral Home on Monday, March 27th at 11 AM. Reception following across the street at Broadway Hall. You may share memories with the family at www.westfordfuneralhome.com.

About John Servais

Writer • Fairhaven, Washington USA • Member since Feb 26, 2008

John started Northwest Citizen in 1995 to inform fellow citizens of serious local political issues that the Bellingham Herald was ignoring. With the help of donors from the beginning, he has [...]