Ken Hassey - obituary


It is with great regret that we have to record the passing of one of the great stalwarts of the flavour industry and of the British Society of Flavourists - Ken Hassey.

Ken was a founder member of the Society and he, Bill Littlejohn and a small steering committee were instrumental in the inception of the British Society of Flavourists in the winter of 1970.

He was immediately elected as a Fellow Member of Council in 1971 and became Vice President from 1978 to 1980. He was President from 1980 to 1982 and then Immediate Past President from 1982 to 1984.

In October 1984 he delivered the prestigious Bill Littlejohn Memorial Lecture at the Scientific Lecture Theatre in Savile Row.

His prodigious work in these early days, particularly gaining support from the industry for the Gala Night in terms of sponsorship, was nothing short of phenomenal and he helped to build our unique Society into the vibrant organisation that we enjoy today.

Upon his retirement from the industry in October 2001 he was elected as an Honorary Member of the Society, only the ninth person to receive this accolade, for his services to the Society.

Ken commenced his career in the technical laboratories at W J Bush (later to become part of Bush Boake Allen Ltd) in 1953. He started as a Laboratory Assistant but his career was interrupted when he served two years National Service in the Royal Air Force from 1955 to 1957. Upon his return he was promoted to Trainee Flavourist a position he held until leaving in 1962.

He left to join Naarden as a Flavourist based in Holland from 1962 to 1963 then he came back to Naarden in London in the same capacity. He moved to Naarden South Africa as Technical Manager in 1964 where he remained until returning to Naarden Holland in 1966 as a Senior Flavourist.

In 1968 he joined Firmenich in Southall as Head of the Flavour Technical Division. He held this position until September 1984 when Firmenich closed down their Southall laboratories moving them back to Geneva. He was offered a position in Geneva but for family reasons did not wish to re-locate at that time.
Thus he joined Lionel Hitchen Essential Oils in Barton Stacey, Hampshire in January 1985 taking up a senior technical appointment where he built up the flavour and application laboratories. He also assisted the commercial team in presenting LHEO products not only in Europe but in North, South and Central America. As Alastair Hitchen so aptly remarks “Ken always had a ‘can do attitude’, a lot of energy and was fun to work with”.

Ken went into hospital late November 2013 for a major procedure and the operation was successful. Unfortunately, just after Christmas he picked up a chest infection which was being treated with antibiotics. Sadly he passed away painlessly on Friday 10th January.

His passing has left his family and friends bereft and to his widow Nuala and children, Paul, Carl and Tamara, we send our sincere condolences. Ken was a one off and will be sadly missed by all those with whom he came into contact – who can ever forget him. His anecdotes were legion.

God Bless Ken Rest in Peace He will be Lovingly remembered

The Funeral service was held at St Erconwalds Catholic Church, Walton-on-Thames followed by cremation at Woking Cemetery on 23rd January 2014.
Only flowers from the family were requested at the funeral. Donations to The British Heart Foundation can still be sent to Fredk W Chitty & Co., Funeral Directors, 26 Brassey House, New Zealand Avenue, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey KT12 1QD.