February 6, 1922 – March 5, 2012
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Ken Russell on Monday, March 5, 2012 at the age of 90 years. Ken enjoyed spending time with family and nurtured many friendships that lasted a lifetime. Always quick with a joke, Ken had a gift for storytelling and engaging an audience. He put these skills to good use with his long-time pals at the Calgary Golf and Country Club where he spent many fond days and was a member for over fifty years.
Ken is pre-deceased by his loving wife of 66 years, Dorothy and brother Ray. Ken is survived by daughter Kerry Clayton (Pat); sons Dan Russell (Krista Halder), Ken Russell (Barb Beninger); grandchildren Cody Clayton (Tara), Katie Clayton (Steve Feick), Micaela and Spencer Russell, and great grandchildren Owen, Ella and Tyler Clayton and Clay Feick, and his brother Bill and sisters Dorothy, Ruth and Marion.
Ken grew up in Winnipeg where his love of hockey and considerable skill led him to sign a professional contract with the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings. He may well have gone on to a successful career as a professional hockey player had his love of country not intervened. Following the outbreak of the Second World War, Ken enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force where he trained as a pilot and served as a flight instructor for four years. During this time he married the love of his life, Dorothy.
As the war ended, Ken joined Burroughs and was transferred to Calgary where Dorothy and he raised their three children: Kerry, Dan and Ken Jr. A natural salesman, his reputation grew and Ken accepted a position as sales manager at Universal Mercury Lincoln.
In 1967, Ken entered the real estate industry spending forty years with the same firm, Toole Peet & Co. where he served in sales, management and on their Board of Directors. Ken became President of the Calgary Real Estate Board in 1975, and in 1979/80 served on the Board of Directors for Alberta Real Estate Association and the Canadian Real Estate Association. Ken was also appointed by Mayor Rod Sykes to the City of Calgary Court of Revision. In 1980 Ken was the first ever recipient to the T.W.H. Saunders REALTOR of the Year Award, a recognition from his peers of which he was particularly proud.
The spirit of volunteerism and giving back to the community came naturally to Ken. He served with a number of local organizations including the Shriners, Gyro Club, Grey Cup Committee, Calgary Olympics and others. Following a diagnosis of prostate cancer, Ken volunteered with the Prostate Cancer Centre and regularly spoke on their behalf.
Ken was a proud Calgarian and long-time volunteer with the Calgary Stampede. On his retirement as Chairman of the Downtown Attractions Committee, Ken was made an Honourary Life Member of the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede.
Ken had a long and enjoyable life filled with laughter and the love of family. We will miss him and are grateful for the time he shared with us.
Our deepest thanks to the doctors, nurses and staff at the Foothills Hospital and the Chinook Hospice who took such wonderful care of Ken and our endless gratitude to Dr. Matt Van Olm and Dr. Pierre Crouse for their exceptional counsel and care.
A private family gathering will be held to celebrate Ken’s life well lived. Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com. If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to The Prostate Cancer Centre, Southern Alberta Institute of Urology, Rockyview General Hospital, 6500-7007 14 Street SW , Calgary, AB T2V 1P9 (403) 943-8888, or The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT, P.O. Box 4500, Station South, Edmonton, Alberta, T6E 6K2.
In living memory of Ken Russell, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES Park Memorial Chapel, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Telephone: (403)243-8200