Furniture salesman remembered for generosity – Victoria Advocate
A South Texas furniture salesman who had six other siblings and lived through the Great Depression knew the value of giving.
Kenneth Earl Stimson, 91, died Feb. 11, but people in the Crossroads likely still feel the effects of his generosity.
Years ago, Stimson, who opened Stimson Furniture in Karnes City in 1953, furnished foster homes.
Today, his granddaughter, Paige Stimson Streiff, and her husband, Ben, run Ashley HomeStores in Victoria and Corpus Christi, the successors to the Stimson Furniture stores, which were located throughout the region.
The Streiffs participate in a program called “A Hope to Dream,” which during the past four years has given more than 300 needy kids in the Victoria area a new bed.
“I think he was really proud,” Paige Stimson Streiff said about how her grandfather thought of her running the business.
Having a large family in a harsh economic time “instilled in him that you should always give back because people gave to him in his time of need,” she said.
Stimson wasn’t always in the furniture business.
When he was 17, he enlisted in the Merchant Marines. His granddaughter said he never talked much about his service other than to say he traveled all over during World War II.
When Stimson returned to Kenedy, where he lived most of his life, he made a beeline for Streiff’s grandmother’s house, where five girls lived, and knocked on the front door.
Stimson wanted to take her sister on a date, but she was sick and couldn’t go.
“She (my grandmother, Bernice,) said, ‘My sister is not here. Will I do?'” Streiff said, chuckling. “From then on, they were inseparable and got married a few weeks later. … It really is a great story.”
Stimson lived by the motto “always treat people right, and they will always come back.”
He knew that furniture was supposed to be functional and fun.
“He did a lot of his business with a handshake and a verbal promise,” his granddaughter said.
Stimson retired in 1985, but was still very interested in knowing about the day-to-day operation of the furniture store.
“Until a few weeks ago, he would ask me how business was and what was I doing to improve the community,” Streiff said.
When he wasn’t working, Stimson loved to fish. His favorite spot was in Fun Valley in Colorado, which he visited every year.
Stimson is survived by his wife of 69 years, Bernice, and their two children, Ken and Tim.
Funeral arrangements are pending. Condolences may be posted to Ashley HomeStore’s facebook page at facebook.com/AshleyHomeStoreVictoriaTX, or one can simply stop by the store, which is at 5201 N. Navarro St., Streiff said.
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