Longtime public servant and decorated peace officer Kevin David Eliason, one of the first police officers hired in the newly incorporated city of Carpinteria, died Feb. 8 after a swift fight against an extremely rare cancer.
Affectionately known as “Kevin Eleven,” he was 79 years old and died at home, surrounded by his loving family.
A huge fan of old Western-themed movies, television shows and western memorabilia, Kevin died with his boots on, as he wanted.
Kevin was born Nov. 3, 1940, in Wisconsin, but lived in Minnesota until the age of 13, when his family moved to Torrance. He was a 1958 graduate of Junipero Serra High School and earned an associates degree in police science from El Camino College.
Kevin was a proud member of the United States Marines, serving as a reservist from 1960 to 1965. He received an honorable discharge as a corporal for his military service.
At the young age of 21, Kevin was hired in 1962 as a police officer for the Torrance Police Department. Just five years later, his life would change.
In 1967, the newly incorporated city of Carpinteria in Santa Barbara County was hiring officers to build its own police force. Kevin and his best friend, John Frontado, were hired along with five others.
Building the force from its infancy, the men became known as “The Magnificent Seven,” a reference to a popular western movie of the era.
As a police officer in the small seaside town, Kevin found a community he loved. It was there that he coached his children in youth sports, was a deacon in his church, and enjoyed the laid-back lifestyle of the beach.
He was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 1968, and became the department’s first lieutenant in 1977, wearing a badge adorned with his initials, KDE.
As a Carpinteria police officer, he was awarded Santa Barbara County’s highest law enforcement honor — the H. Thomas Guerry Award for Valor in the line of duty.
After almost 20 years wearing the Carpinteria Police Department badge, Kevin retired in 1981 and moved to Saugus (Santa Clarita). It was there that he began his second act in life, with the Southland Corp. (7-Eleven) as a regional security supervisor.
He maintained a close relationship with various law enforcement agencies and helped communities throughout Southern California and Arizona with crime prevention programs.
In 2000, Kevin retired after nearly 20 years with Southland Corp. and began to take life more slowly. With his longtime companion, Barbara, they began fostering kittens, getting them ready for adoption.
With his life dedicated to law enforcement and justice, Kevin was an ardent supporter of the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation in Sacramento.
In lieu of flowers, Kevin requested that any donations are sent to the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation or Pink Paws Rescue and Adoption, both causes important to him.
Kevin was proceeded in death by his mother, Mary Ann, and father, Kenneth.
He is survived by his longtime companion, Barbara Switzer; his three younger sisters, Gwen of Torrance, Anna and Cheryl, both from Arizona; his three children, daughter Cyndi and husband, Chuck Hookstra, of Oxnard, son David and wife Krista of Hopkinton, New Hampshire, and son Mike and wife Kathy of Santa Barbara. He also leaves behind two grandchildren, Tori Izquierdo of Camarillo, and Hannah Eliason, of Hopkinton, New Hampshire.
Kevin was a dedicated public servant and a loving father and grandfather. He is missed.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29, at the Desert Streams Church, 26873 Ruether Avenue, Canyon Country (Santa Clarita).
“Courage is being scared to death…saddling up anyway.”
— John Wayne