The Bench

Kenny’s Bench

 On Wednesday July 23rd new benches were installed adjacent to the boardwalk at 34th Street in Newport Beach.  There is a small plaque on one of the benches that reads;

 In Memory of Kenny Melton

 “Kenny’s Bench”

 Back in October/November of 2012 when it became obvious that Kenny would not be able to return to his home in Del Mar Kenny and the family decided the best place for him to be would be Meril and Allen’s home on 34th Street in Newport Beach.  He would be close to Hoag Hospital which has a very good Neuroscience Center, he would have plenty of family nearby to support him, and perhaps most importantly, he would be in the beach environment that he so loved.   Almost immediately from the time he moved into 34th Street the bench at the end of 34th street became his favorite spot.  In the beginning when he still had his mobility, he was known to visit the bench several times a day at all hours of the day and night.  Later when his mobility was impaired he would have family and friends wheel him to the bench in his wheelchair.  For me, Kenny’s dad, the bench was a place where we had many heartfelt conversations and ultimately came to terms with his prognosis.  It remains a special place for me, and I suspect for Kenny’s mother and many other friends and family who visited the bench with him during his battle with cancer.


For those of you who have “bench stories with Kenny” I encourage you to share them on this site.  For all who are reading this post, we hope you will visit “Kenny’s Bench” the next time you are in Newport Beach.  It is easy to find, just walk along the boardwalk to 34th street and you will see the two benches by the bike rack.  Take a minute to sit and enjoy the ocean air as a gift from Kenny and to all the friends who funded and coordinated the effort to create a lasting Kenny memorial…. Thank you!


Just a few pictures of Kenny enjoying his “old”


We love and miss you Kenny. We will visit you at your “new bench” and smile and laugh remembering all the goodness you left us!

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  1. Megan Duque Reply
    My visits with Kenny at the bench were some of the best and hardest of times during the year he battled cancer. I remember the little time that I was working, I would leave work and go straight to my moms to see him pretty much everyday. I'd say 80% of the time when I pulled up to my moms house and asked where he was, the reply was the same "He's at the bench". Sometimes I'd go meet him there, sometimes we walked there together, and sometimes we went with Drew to feed the birds. I remember one day we walked down there and Drew walked out to sand to feed the birds some old bread my mom always saved for him. Kenny and I sat on the bench and he laughed so hard watching Drew try to throw bread or almost get eaten by a bird himself. I can hear his laugh now. It makes me so happy. And then Kenny asked "So, how are you? How are you dealing with all of this?" As if I was the one with cancer. And this was Kenny in a nutshell... always making sure WE were all ok. I told him it hurts. I told him it's not fair. I told him I was scared to be on this earth without him. I told him I didn't want Drew to forget him. I told him I was holding up but I was so terribly sad and scared. I asked him what I was going to do and he said "you are going to get busy living and take care of our parents, And take care of your little family." And I guess that's what I'm trying to do. I can't really go into details the many "hard" but good talks we had on that bench. But also some of the best times were the times of silence. The times we just sat. And listened to the ocean. Love you Kenny. Always. -Your lil sis
  2. Meril Harrison Reply
    My times at the bench with Kenny were hard. I went every day I could. Sometimes twice or three times a day. I would ask him questions about the surf, the waves, surfing, the weather ..... Anything but not about the future. I could not fathom the thought of him not being here. But then one day the two of us were sitting there alone and I just let it go. I cried and hung on to Kenny with all my strength. He said mom 'Im still here. Why are you crying? And then being Kenny he said something flippant and funny to get me to smile again. And like Megan, we also had many many days of slience. But most of all I know in my heart how much Kenny loved just sitting on the bench. It was and now forever will be a very special place for him and all of us. Thank you to Allison Tavaglione and every single one of you who made this happen. Because of you we will always have Kenny in our hearts, especially at "The Bench'. I love you Kenny. I love you too mom. I know.
  3. Allen Harrison Reply
    The Bench When Kenny was nearing the the end of his battle, I was at my busiest at work. Many nights when I got home from work Gary, Dianne, Megan, Meril or Brent would tell me about the not one, not two, but the many trips that had taken place throughout the day to the bench. Up until then, I thought the benches at the end of our street were nothing special. But I came to realize that the bench was a place of comfort and solitude to Kenny. It means so much to our family that others recognized this as well. The new benches that were paid for by the many many friends of Kenny and our family are now in place at the end of our street. "Kenny's Bench" has become a special place for me. I usually go down to the bench late at night. Meril reminds me--"don't be sad" and off I go. I've become possessive of his bench and want to keep it clean including purchasing a broom to take with me when I go. The Bench is a special place for our family and we hope that others find it a place they can go to remember Kenny.

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