I first met Donna when she joined us on Avon Trail hikes. Not long after I met her husband, Ken. We called him ‘Big Ken’. He also joined us on hikes, and, when carpooling, always preferred to drive. Being a truck driver by vocation, Ken knew back roads like the back of his hand. It was not long before Ken’s expertise with small engine maintenance and repair came to our attention. Our brush cutters and Bear Cat machines are used a lot during the season and Ken made helpful suggestions on proper maintenance. He was generous with his time when tune-ups and adjustments were needed with the machinery. Ken was a believer in keeping tools well sharpened. All who used the brush cutters after they had been sharpened noticed a big difference. Even the shovels got a sharpening!
When Dave Williamson decided to erect a tool shed to house Avon Trail tools, Ken was instrumental in getting the job done. He oversaw the construction from foundation to finish. The shed has been a boon to keep all Trail tools and machines in one accessible place for all maintenance workers.
Ken was a quiet fellow, but given an opening, he was a good conversationalist. I recall driving with him on different occasions to do a maintenance job. He related some of the health challenges he had over the years. He talked to “the Big Guy upstairs” with whom he had frequent conversations. Ken was an eternal optimist as he remembered how he had come through earlier challenges.
Ken often dropped by David Williamson’s to chat, often offering to help with some job or other. On one of those visits, Ken helped David erect his gazebo. David remembers Ken as always having a quiet chuckle. As David commented, “I’m going to miss him in my own little way.” We are all going to miss Ken in our own way. He was a friend of the Trail and all of us who knew him. In a small way, the tree planted along the trail in St. Marys in his memory will be a reminder to us of his kind-hearted generosity and gentle spirit.