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The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution announces with great sorrow the death of former employee Kenneth Frederick Fleet, Jr., on March 18 at Tobey Hospital in Wareham, Mass.  He was 81.

Ken was educated in Stoneham, Mass., and was a graduate of Stoneham High School. After Ken’s graduation, he entered the US Air Force where he proudly served his country during the Vietnam War as an air traffic controller. He was the honored recipient of the Airman’s Medal for heroism from President Kennedy.

Ken worked as a sales manager for the Curtis 1000 Company in later years. Before beginning his sales career, he worked at WHOI as a buyer in Purchasing from 1964 to 1970.

Ken was a man of many interests. Whether fishing, boating, or on the beach, he always found peace on the water. He loved hockey and served as both referee and coach, and in later years, was blessed to cheer on his grandsons from the stands. With a quick wit and great sense of humor, he always made room for laughter. He was a loving family man, always the first to volunteer with a genuine desire to help others. Being the confident man he was, he knew with certainty after only one date (at Buzzard’s Bay Bowling Alley) that he would marry and spend the rest of his life with his beloved Donna.

Ken was the devoted husband of fifty-two years to Donalda “Donna” (MacKilligan) Fleet. In addition to Donna, Kenneth is survived by his daughter Elizabeth Lapollo of Plymouth; Stephen Fleet and his fiancé Tina of Carver; and Brian Fleet and his wife Shannon of Plymouth. He was the cherished grandfather of Rachael and her husband Tyler; Heather, David, Darren, Lauren, Nathan, and Jacob. He was the proud PopPop to great-grandchildren Brady and Olivia. Kenneth was predeceased by his sister Barbara Shewan and son-in-law David Lapollo. 

A Life Celebration visitation will take place on Tuesday, March 26, from 9-11 a.m., at the Cartmell Funeral Home, 150 Court Street, Plymouth, Mass., followed by a Memorial Service in the Funeral Home at 11 a.m. 

Donations in his memory may be made to the American Red Cross.

Information for this obituary is from the Cartmell Funeral Home.