Santa Monica Native Florence Kinney Will Be Remembered for Her Style and Spunk


Florence modeled at the local Salvation Army Fashion Show when she was 104 years old.

The oldest Santa Monica High School graduate, Florence Kinney, passed away peacefully on New Year’s day at the age of 108. After graduating from Santa Monica High School in 1930, Florence worked at Van de Kamp’s Bakeries

in downtown Santa Monica before marrying LAPD officer Ray Kinney. They were married for 60 years, until Ray’s death.

Florence is survived by her daughter and husband, Patricia and John Burnett, three grandsons, and six great-grandchildren.

In the 1920s and 30s, Florence loved to dance to big band music at the many local ballrooms in Santa Monica and have picnics on the beach. She recalled the small-town atmosphere fondly, explaining that, “On Saturday nights, you’d walk down Third Street and you would know everybody.”

As much as Florence enjoyed her youth, she also liked to brag about how old she was. Neighbor Maurice Jordan said they first met when Florence was pushing her trash can from the sidewalk into the back yard.

Florence asked him, “How old do you think I am?” She refused to accept his politely evasive answers. She gleefully informed him that his guess was off by 20 years: at the time, she was 103. “A special place was put aside in my heart just for her,” Maurice said. “The lessons of life I learned from our conversations will live on in me wherever I go.”

Florence enjoyed recounting her stories to younger generations, ensuring that her snapshots of the past would be passed down. “I will remember Florence fondly,” Evelyn Lauchenauer said. “We had fun conversations sharing stories at the Santa Monica History Museum Remembering Santa Monica group monthly meetings.”

During their marriage, Florence and Ray also dabbled in real estate, rehabbing, and renting out houses together. After Ray retired from the police force, they moved to Las Vegas, where he worked in private security for Howard Hughes for 16 years. When they retired for good, they spent time traveling around the U.S. in a camper van accompanied by friends.

One of Florence’s favorite games was Scrabble. She continued to beat her daughter Patricia while Florence was well past 100. She said she wanted Patricia to know “she still had it.”

When we last spoke in person, Florence spoke of missing her friends and family who had predeceased her. Still, she retained her vivacity, humor, and enthusiasm for living to the end. As she said herself, “I’ve had a wonderful life.”


By Anne Wallentine

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