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WATSON, Kenneth William

June 17, 1927 – Rosthern, Saskatchewan
July 16, 2018 – Calgary, Alberta

Kenneth William Watson, traveler-outdoorsman-historian, passed away suddenly on Monday, July16, 2018 while out for his evening walk around his home at the Renoir in Calgary, AB at the age of 91 years.

Ken was born in Rosthern, SK on June 17, 1927 to Bill and Frieda Watson. Ken was the first of three siblings and was predeceased by his sister Marjorie Narraway and survived by brother, Don Watson. Early in life, the family moved to Calgary, where Ken loved to bicycle around the city, meeting his father on his way home from work. Working as a young man in the Vancouver shipyards, he learned that he wanted to get an education and earned his Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Manitoba. Upon marrying Jean, predeceased in 2016, they embarked upon a family life in Calgary, having four children, John, Marian, Mark and Ross. Early on during his work as a probation officer for the John Howard Society and social worker for the province of Alberta and the Calgary school board, Ken was drawn to the outdoors to hike and ski, both downhill and cross-country. Beginning in his twenties and through his early eighties, Ken enjoyed skiing at Norquay, Sunshine and Lake Louise ski resorts and hiking the local Rockies, sharing his love of the outdoors with his children. Ken got involved in several hiking/skiing groups, including the Calgary Youth Hostel, the Rocky Mountain Ramblers, and the Seniors Alpine Ski Club. Ken was also an avid historian, especially on WWII and eastern cultures, travelling to Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Turkey and Greece (among other trips to Peru, Mexico and Australia to name a few). Later in life as a member of The Calgary Association of Lifelong Learners, he enjoyed learning about world history and gave some presentations (while keeping up with his skiing, hiking and seniors hockey participation).

Kenneth is survived by his brother Donald Watson; his loving wife Leslie Watson; his children, John Watson and his spouse Jay, Marian Doerksen and her spouse Kurt, Mark Watson and his spouse Heather, Ross Watson and his spouse Rebecca. He will also be lovingly remembered by his grandchildren, Patrick Hamill and his spouse Kimberley, Lisa Sutherland and her spouse Iain, Madison Watson, Danny and Zach Doerksen, Michelle, Coleman, and Chad Gutsell; great-grandsons Peter and Preston; nieces, Nancy Narraway, Donna Hale, Laurie Chabot and nephew Dan Watson.

Funeral Services will be held at St. Peter’s Anglican Church (903 – 75th Avenue S.W., Calgary, AB) on Saturday, July 21, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. Reception to follow at the church. Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com.

In living memory of Ken Watson, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Park Memorial, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Calgary, AB, T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Howard and Betty Faulkner :

    Dear Don, John, Marian, Mark, Ross and families,
    Sincere condolences on your loss. When we got together for Sanderman celebrations, I remember Ken as a quiet, gentle soul among us who would talk to me about knowing my father. Ken made a difference in many people’s lives. He will be missed. May he rest in peace.
    Howard and Betty Faulkner

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  2. I am saddened to learn of Ken’s death. As a Rocky Mountain Rambler member, I accompanied Ken on numerous hikes. Ken was a good man. I enjoyed his company very much.

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  3. Kari Strutt :

    Dear Ross and Family:

    Sorry to hear of your Father’s passing. He certainly seemed to have lived his life to the fullest. My thoughts are with you and your family.

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  4. Bruce & Janice Steinbring :

    Dear Marian, John, Mark, Ross, Don, Leslie & families,

    Ken left his mark on everyone he met. He was a true gentleman, genuinely caring & kind. We enjoyed many walks with him on their trips to Barrhead. He was more like a brother to Dad than a nephew as they were 6 years apart.
    Bruce & Janice Steinbring

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  5. Cousin Bob Sanderman :

    Ken was both a gentleman and a gentle man.
    He did a much better job than most in following his passions: enjoying the outdoors; traveling, often to places most of us have never been; and reading and research on WW II.
    Ken was the most even tempered person I know – never angry, never loud. Always happy, with that little smile.
    Ken will be sorely missed.

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  6. Douglas Sanderman :

    Dear Don, Mark, Marian,John , Ross and families.
    We are truly saddened to hear of your recent loss and would like to express our sincere condolences to you and your families on the passing of your father.

    The family reunion two years ago reminded me of how I had wished we had lived closer to Calgary, so that we might have been in touch more often with each other.

    There is a space of probably some fifty years between the family 2016 reunion, and when my dad and mom would visit cousins Pat and Marge (and of course, Nancy and Donna) back in the sixties. That was always a big event for me. There was always a small reunion with Uncle Bill and Aunt Freida, and Ken and Don and their families. And so, it is the younger Ken that I remember.

    Bill and Marilyn took me to visit Ken and Jean (maybe five or six years ago). We had a very nice visit, but it was different for me. I felt a bit uncomfortable, but couldn’t understand why. Later that evening, I had this flood of good memories of all of us having such a good time together back in the sixties. We (kids) were downstairs playing in the rumpus room at Pat and Marge’s, and I remember Ken coming down stairs to play with us. And that is when I understood why I felt uncomfortable. I was no longer the kid in the rumpus room, but an adult myself (going into retirement).

    Living out here in Nova Scotia, there is one thing that I always tell the younger generation: “Enjoy your parents for as long as you have them around. Take good care of them, and love them, because some day, they won’t be there any more.” Don, Mark, Marian,John , Ross and your families. You are very fortunate. Your father (and mother) were with you for a very long time. They were given the joyous opportunity to see generations of their offspring grow up, and you in return, got to reap the rewards of seeing that happiness.

    Our thoughts and prayers go out for you.
    Love.
    Doug and Linda Sanderman, Giselle, Lisa, Pamela, Zoe, Zayden, Taylor, Tuesday, Jordan, Sam, and Luke.

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  7. Gordon Fairhead :

    I knew Ken as an acquaintance when he worked with the C.B.E. many years ago. We reconnected recently through our shared involvement with the Calgary Association of Life Long Learners. He was part of the “Human Conflict and its Impact” special interest group that I co-facilitated. I would drive him to and from our weekly get-togethers and greatly enjoyed our conversations and his insights into history and his time growing up and working in Calgary. Ken was a superior person and I am sure that he will be greatly missed by those who knew him well.
    Gordon Fairhead

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  8. Shirley and Bill Tajcnar :

    Dear Marion and all the family,
    We were saddened to hear of your loss. Please accept our sincere condolences and we hope it is a comfort to you all at this time knowing that Ken was out walking, one of his favorite activities, when his time came.
    Our thoughts are with you.

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