Obituary of Ken Bedell
Kenneth Archie Bedell
July 10, 1930 – May 11, 2020
The good, the rad – Our Dad
Ken passed away Monday, May 11th, 2020, at the age of 89 years, after a courageous battle with cancer. He passed away peacefully in the comfort of his home surrounded by love with his wife and children.
Ken was born in Jarvie, Alberta, and grew up on the family homestead. Children were required to attend school until they were 15, but Ken was so advanced the teacher had him teach lessons to the younger children so the old school Marm could have a nap. He’d had enough of that so at the age of 14, he escaped to BC to start new adventures. He found himself working at a saw mill in Prince George.
Two years later, after he was no longer required to go to school, he moved back to the homestead to help out financially on the family farm by working on thrashing crews. Ken left the family homestead and moved to Jarvie where he did carpentry work for the Jack Thomas Company. Within in a couple of weeks he met the love of his life, Germaine Vigneau (who had the “cutest figure he ever saw!”).
In August 1950, Ken joined the Navy and he was honourably discharged in 1955 as a Leading Seaman. While in the Navy, he was respected and enjoyed by all. Due to his strong work ethic, he was often chosen to escort officers on ship to shore excursions – where he led them into all kinds of shenanigans. During his time in the Navy he recieved his grade 12 diploma, he taught at the Naval School in Regina, trained in radar and electronics, sailed all around the world and had endless adventures.
On December 26, 1955 Ken and Germaine were married in Edmonton, AB. Ken went to work with Furnace Air and then on to RCA Victor, as an appliance repair man. In 1957, they moved to St. Albert, AB. Ken quickly moved up the ranks at RCA, but these promotions often led to living in a big city, and neither Ken, nor Germaine, desired that type of life for their family. It was at this time they began their search for a place where they could live the lifestyle they wanted.
Fate intervened when Tak Toyota was looking for a repairman and his RCA rep, Lee Mason, recommended Ken as the best repairman around. In May of 1970, they made a courageous move, with 7 kids in tow, to Cranbrook, B.C. It was the beginning of endless adventures and memories for the Bedell family: their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will be forever grateful for that leap of faith.
In 1971, Ken survived a near-death experience after a motorcycle accident that included the receiving of his last rights. His perseverance, determination and love for his family kept him alive. Upon recovery, he promptly bought a bigger, more powerful dirt bike. It was this type of attitude that taught his children and grandchildren how to live life – to the fullest.
Ken and Germaine opened Willow Appliances in 1975. The reputation he built at Taks Home Furnishings – one of honesty and hardworking, along with his gregarious personality and the help of his wife and children, built a successful business – which remains in the family today.
In 1977, Ken leased land at Edwards Lake and built a small shed to keep us dry if it rained. As the years went on, that shed transformed into a wonderful family cabin where there would be endless memories for his family and so many friends. Anyone and everyone was welcomed by Ken with a beer, a motorbike, a windsurfer, a game of disc golf, a game of cards, a fire, a sauna and many laughs.
One of his many passions was motor biking – he would go out for a “toodle” or “rubbernecking” with any willing victim. Only hours after learning how to ride a motorcycle, granddaughter Olivia, would stop at a trail and ask “I wonder where that road goes?” – the phrase, so often spoken by Ken, has found its voice in the new generations of Bedells.
He immersed himself in his family and community; he was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Christ the Servant Church Building Committee, Board and Committee member for Land Management plans; advocating to keep the bush open for all users. His generosity and support to local organizations was never ending.
He especially enjoyed and welcomed all children to join in the fun. Kids always wanted to motor bike or ski with “Mr. Bedell” as he knew all the best powder runs, jumps, backroad trails and climbing hills. Ken enjoyed kids as much as they enjoyed him, so much that he became a Scout Master. Being with kids was his way of remaining a kid at heart well into his 80’s.
Ken was dedicated to his children and grandchildren; creating a space where family could enjoy the lake, adventures and each other. Ken and Germaine attended all their grandchildren’s school events and activities – rain or shine, soft or hard bench, grass or chair and were their number one fans – proud of them all.
Ken and Germaine were not your typical snowbirds. They spent time with their good friends on ski trips travelling to many different ski hills in Canada and the States where they enjoyed an abundance of good times and laughter.
Ken’s many friends and family enjoyed his sense of humor. Ken made people laugh with his jokes, pranks, hair brained inventions and his ability to “ binfordize” anything.
Ken lived life – a full life. He enjoyed waterskiing, skiing (until age 83), motor biking (until age 85), windsurfing, quading, puttering and muttering in the garage, inventing and building, Edwards Lake, gravel roads, cat skiing, tractors and anything remotely dangerous – usually without the consent of Germaine.
Ken was outgoing, adventurous, personable, kind, hard working, playful, committed to his family, funny, a story teller, fearless, outspoken, had a creative vocabulary, well liked, a role model for many and down right crazy. He was always helping a lending hand, people were naturally drawn to Ken’s contagious, playful energy and his smile will be missed by many.
Ken was predeceased by his parents Nellie and Herbert; brothers Herbert, Billy, John; and sister Jean.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 64 years, Germaine, his children and (grandchildren); Brian and Karen Bedell (Scott and Megan Bedell) (Becky and Joe Molina), Cathy and Mike Jones (Michelle and Russ), Russell and Arlene Bedell (Olivia and Zachary), Neal Bedell and Dayna Grant, Warren and Fiona Bedell (Kyra and Jenna), Denise Bedell and Ed Townsend (Megan and Sandy Stasuik) (Sara and Justin Mercier) (Julie Bolko), Joanne and Martin Gleixner (Nicolas), and great grandchildren Aiden Burns, Kenny and Wyatt Stasuik, plus 2 to arrive shortly. Ken was proud of and dearly loved his family. Ken is also survived by his sister Muriel and niece, Leanne Bedell (Mike Halldorson) of Kelowna.
Ken’s cremated remains will be interred at the Cranbrook Cemetery July 10th, 2020, his 90th birthday. A Celebration of Life will be planned and announced at a later date.
Your energy and spirit will be missed and remembered by all.
Kens motto was “Always Keep your sense of humor”
In lieu of flowers, Memorial donations in Ken’s honour can be made to Canadian National Institute for the Blind or East Kootenay Foundation of Health.
Ken never told us how to live, he showed us.