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Kenneth Glenn Partridge
A graveside service will be held at East Line Street Cemetery at 1 p.m. Wednesday for Kenneth Glenn Partridge who passed away Feb. 18, 2012. He was 96.
Kenneth was born Dec. 9, 1915 in Bishop to an Owens Valley pioneering family. His grandparents, Philip and Rhoda Partridge, came on the Slim Princess in 1888 to settle on a ranch eight miles south of Bishop.
Kenneth grew up on several of the old ranches in the Eastern Sierra, including Longyear, Abelour and Cain Ranches where his father, Wallace, worked. Kenneth would often ride with his brother, Wilfred, from the Cain Ranch in Mono County on Saturday mornings to go to the movies in Bishop. Sometimes Harry Holland would let them crank the projector to work off their ticket.
The Glacier Pack Station was purchased by his family in 1935, and they operated it for nine years. Besides accommodating tourists, they also had to do difficult tasks such as when Kenneth, Norman Clyde and others helped in the removal of the military plane crash of Maj. Gen. Herbert Dargue on Birch Mountain in December, 1941. Dargue was heading to Hawaii as the head investigator of American Preparedness after the Pearl Harbor bombing. They had to make 13 pack trips to bring out the bodies and wreckage. They sold the pack station to the Johnson brothers around 1945.
It was during the war, that Kenneth was drafted into the army and served on Donner Peak.
On April 10, 1937, Kenneth joined the Masons in an unusual ceremony at Badwater, Death Valley.
After running the pack station, he and the family owned the ranch in Big Pine that the Johns Family owns today. He was a member of the Cattlemen’s Association.
He worked on many of the western movies that were made in the valley doing such jobs as wrangler, driver and location and set scout. He always talked about enjoying the wonderful food that was provided. As a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild, Partridge worked with John Wayne in “True Grit” and with Clint Eastwood in “Joe Kidd” and “High Plains Drifter.” He made a Japanese perfume commercial and became known in Japan as the Perfume Man of Japan. He also worked on a Saturday morning children series, “Thunder:” Thunder was a horse. The child star, Melora Hardin, was afraid of horses, so Kenneth was always at her side to ease the situation.
Kenneth was a horse whisperer before the phrase became known. Those who worked with him said he had quiet ways and soft hands when dealing with horses and cattle. He and the family brought the first quarter horse stallion, Breezy, to the Owens Valley. They won the Get of Sire and a Produce of Dam awards at the Tri-County Fair. Besides working with horses, he loved working with children such as Kristin and Callie Johns. Kenneth had great patience with children.
He was Grand Marshal of Homecoming 1985 and Most Honored Packer in the 1998 Mule Days Celebration. On the 10th anniversary of this, he rode in the Mule Days Parade at the age of 92.
During the last years of his life, he would go to their ranch on U.S. 395 in Bishop and help his son, Ken, break the new colts.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Wallace and Hazel (Tinder) Partridge; wife, Barbara; his brother and sister-in-law, Wilfred and Doris.
He is survived by his son, Kenneth; daughter, Vernetta Johnson; grandchildren, Stephen Cognata and Deborah Lisk; three great-grandchildren; three great-great-grandchildren; his niece, Carol Thorne; and many cousins in his extended family. He is also survived by his faithful border collie, Rusty.