Kenneth J. Kinkor

January 26, 1954June 7, 2013

Kenneth Kinkor has set sail on the bounty main after passing away suddenly on Friday June 7, 2013 (or answered the call from Davey Jones Locker). Ken was born to his proud parents on the 26th of January in the year of 1954. He was preceded in death by both is parents, Norman (1982) and Clementine (2013); his grandparents Joe and Mary Kinkor and Victor and Clara Schmitt; his 3 uncles, Don and Clifford Kinkor and Florian Schmitt.

Ken is survived by his best friend and wife of 17 years, Marti Ward. He is also survived by his brothers, Ron, Roger and Randy, his sister, Karen Kay, nephews Michael, Christopher, Mitchel, Mackie and Benjamin as well as numerous 1st cousins.

Ken graduated from South Winneshiek Community High School in 1972. He participated in many school clubs, but enjoyed acting in school plays the most. He was a graduate (class of 1976) from Loras College. He also attended Universities of Iowa and Illinois.

Ken was a piratetologist/historian. His love of maritime history and the golden age of piracy led him to leave his mid-western home and move to Cape Cod, MA in 1986. There he joined the company of Barry Clifford, who had discovered the wreck of the Whydah, the 1st documented sunken pirate ship off the coast of Cape Cod. Ken spent the rest of his days doing the work that he loved. He made several national television appearances as an expert in his field on programs featured on the Discovery Channel, History Channel, and other networks. He was also the co-author of numerous articles in national publications and important books as well as the historical consultant for producer Gale Anne Hurd. Ken was a writer, a fisherman and a great cook.

At the time of his untimely passing he was involved with renowned screen writer, Richard Outten and Mr. Clifford in writing a fictional pirate trilogy in which he was characterized. Mr. Kinkor was also the primary historical consultant for National Geographic’s traveling exhibit “Real Pirates” as well as the historian for Cape Cod’s Whydah Museum and numerous other worldwide Pirate exhibitions. Ken’s genius is only surpassed by the gentle kindness and selfless devotion he showed to his family and teammates. Words could never describe how much he will be missed.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. For online guest book please visit


Kenneth J. Kinkor

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Eric Breuer

February 21, 2018

I have met Ken on several occasions. 1st of which I found an old bottle as the tide was rushing in at the Cape Cod light house. Ken told me it was from the mid 1800's. It still had the cork and BITTERS in it. Thank You Ken for being approachable. I have cheerished that bottle for over 20years and Ken is part of its history.

Rene Risher-Kelly

October 14, 2014

I didn't know Ken passed away until a few moments ago when I discovered it by accident online. Ken was a consultant for my company Maritime Productions when we first met at the Provincetown Museum in 1993. He sent me materials for my shows for many years and was my go to guy for his expertise on Pirates and Maritime history. We were covering pirates in our shows long before Johnny Depp came along! I always considered Ken a very special person and an important source for quality research. I also adored him and his eccentricities. He was very much an individual and a person that stands out as the only self-proclaimed piratologist that truly was authentic and a sweet man. I felt honored that he liked me enough to share his research and be an important part of my company Maritime Productions. I am sad that he is gone but he exemplifies why we need to follow our passion and create our own realities. He certainly did and I was lucky to have crossed paths with him in this life.

Darby Hobbs

May 13, 2014

I had Ken do a pirate talk at the Boston Stock Exchange for our group of investment professionals, it was right when the Whydah Museum was opening in Provincetown, MA and the whole story on Barry Clifford. He was so compassionate and a wonderful storyteller. All enjoyed his presentation and for years many of these business leaders spoke of the unique event and Ken's presentation. He was a true scholar, wonderful human being and enthusiast for sure of pirate history. He shall be missed. Loved his style! Darby Hobbs

Adam Elliott

May 2, 2014

I am a teacher in Maryland, and after Ken met one of my students at the Whydah Museum, he began corresponding with us annually. He was always gracious with his time, and he fascinated my students with his anecdotes and discoveries. I am so very sorry to read of his passing.

Nancy Stevens

March 15, 2014

I only learned of Ken's passing today, March 14, and I feel like my boat's been capsized. I worked with Ken for years, me at a law firm in Minnesota, trying to make lawyers look seaworthy, Ken at the museum trying to toss a net over Barry and Bob Lazier for five seconds, the two of us in the end being successful in taming the furies long enough to put pen to paper occasionally. What a man he was!! Always caring and generous of spirit. Gentle and funny. I can't believe he's gone. Actually I don't. I know he's around here somewhere.

Janis Packard

October 17, 2013

Rest in Peace Ken Kinkor !

Mike Wentzel

October 16, 2013

I just learned of Kens passing from the Loras College Magazine. Ken and I were classmates at Loras and worked together in the summer of 1975. He was a man of wit and humor and often made me laugh. I shall not forget that summer and his friendship. Rest in peace my friend.

Mike Cicale

August 30, 2013

I used to see Ken come into the Eastham Transfer Station all the time. He drove an old van and always had a pipe and he threw away strange boxes from magicians supply companies. I never said more than hello to him, as I did with countless others, but he was one of the "characters" I'd come to expect every week. It was only after reading his obituary that I found out just who this man really was. With my fascination with all things sail, pirate, and history, there would have been so much I would have loved to talk to him about. If I had only asked. I never really knew him, but Ken will always remind me never to to think twice about striking up conversation. You may be very surprised at who you meet.

Charlie Ewen

July 9, 2013

Ken was a gracious colleague and a good scholar. My condolences to his family and friends

Matthew Chalmers

July 2, 2013

My family had the pleasure of meeting Ken last summer over several weekends at the Wydah docks. My kids loved hearing Ken talk about the history of pirates. Very nice person and we are sorry for your loss.