Our beloved friend and mentor, Kenneth Christopher Gilliland, passed away in his home in Oakland on May 6, 2021, surrounded by friends and family. As a self taught poly-math with a passion for antiquarian books, Ken was dedicated to excelling in his craft as well as teaching and mentoring youth and adults in machine shop practices. Ken passionately engaged with non-profit organizations such as The Crucible where he headed the machine shop department, and Bike Rescue where he donated countless hours fixing bicycles and machining custom trike parts. In 2006, he was a part of the “Diesel Dozen,” the team that built the diesel powered motorcycle that set the still unbroken world land speed record using 100% biodiesel on his 50th birthday in 2007, at the Bonneville Salt Flats.
Growing up in the historic Cohen-Bray House in Oakland, Ken was the last of the original family members to live in the iconic estate and was the steward of generations of memories and stories about the family and grounds.
After a series of extended hospitalizations in 2020, Ken was no longer able to live independently at home, where he wished to stay. His friends were able to help whenever they could, but he eventually needed full-time assistance and ultimately in-home hospice care.
Ken's primary caretaker not only dedicated herself to his medical wellbeing, but became a crucial source of emotional support for Ken, and an advocate for him in navigating the medical system. She was there at the moment of Ken's passing, and organized Ken's community of friends afterward. Her hard work deserves compensation.
We are asking for contributions to cover the cost of Ken's in-home care, outstanding medical expenses, and other end-of-life costs.