TRIBUTES have been paid to a Newport man and war veteran who has passed away at the age of 89.

Kenneth Read was born in Newport but lived on the other side of the Atlantic, in Simcoe, Ontario in Canada.

Mr Read passed away suddenly on New Year’s Eve from natural causes at Putnam Community Medical Center in Palatka, Florida USA his family have said.

He was born on February 15, 1929 in Newport to Joseph W.J. Read and Ena M.M. Read (nee Ford). He was a devoted common-law husband to Sandy Miller for more than ten years.

His family described him as "an adventurous and unstoppable force, a genius of many talents, that always lived life to the fullest".

A veteran of the British Army in the Royal Signals after the war, he was also a former table tennis champion and ballroom dance teacher.

He was a self-taught and accomplished musician who performed with his harmonica on the radio when he was 11. He was a wonderful trumpeter and performed on his keyboard under various names, including Welsh Willie and The MusicMaker, several times a week until he was 88.

He was also a leading insurance sales agent, a skilled carpenter and mechanic, an electrical genius, a fisherman and a certified sea captain.

Mr Read is survived by three sisters, Doris Zervandonakis of Greece, Frances Williams and Enid Read of Wales. He is also survived by many children, grandchildren and great grandchildren

There will be a celebration of his life in the spring, for details or to send condolences to the family, please email his daughter Heather at

Messages of encouragement or sympathy may be expressed in his online guest book at