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August 24, 1930 - November 2, 2022
In Loving Memory ~
Ken was born near Forget, Saskatchewan to Molly and Bob Ridenour on August 24, 1930. He died on Nov 2, 2022 in Duncan, BC.
Ken leaves his wife Pat, his children Stephen(Dina) and Lesley(Cam) as well as his eight grandchildren, Natasha (Marcus) Christine (Francis), Desirae, Stephanie (Rick), Nick, Alex, Kieran, and Eric, along with great grandsons Torin and Dominic. He is also survived by his sister Beverly LaRoque of Trail and brother Larry Ridenour (Doris) of White Rock.
He was predeceased by his eldest son Douglas in 2019.
Ken died at Hospice House with his wife Pat at his side. He spent all but one week of his illness in his own home, still managing to get out to the patio to sit in the sunshine, to watch his beloved quail out the living room windows and to look at the view over Quamichan lake while sitting in his favorite leather chair.
The night prior to entering hospice he stayed up late playing Artie Shaw (It had to be You) and dancing with his wife. Always wise, he knew it was time to leave and did so with grace.
He was thankful for the good care he received from his palliative care doctors and nurses and Dr Ann Thompson. His passing was quick and peaceful, because in his usual way, he was prepared.
We, his family, wish we felt better prepared to face our world without him. Dad was ever present, cheerful and engaged in all our lives. He had a sneaky sly wit shared by many in the family along with a masterful gift for story telling. Everyone in the family has fond memories of Dad peering earnestly over his glasses, expounding his wisdom (solicited or not!) with the occasional shake of his index finger to punctuate his points.
As a great athlete in his youth, Dad won provincials in the Triple Jump and was second in the 100 yard sprint in high school to lead his tiny 5 person team from Trail to third place in the province.
His satisfaction with the athletic pursuits of the Ridenour's was very evident, with many photographs on the "wall of fame" of rowers, runners, triathletes, and swimmers. But the biggest and most prominent photos were always of the graduates. Dad was even more pleased by the educational achievements of his children and grandchildren.
Ken was a lifelong learner and always loved school, perhaps valuing it so greatly because his own mother and father did not get past grade 6. Growing up during the Great Depression in Nelson as one of five children, life was hard for the Ridenour family, but he has very fond memories of fishing in Cottonwood creek, playing outdoor games afternoons and evenings until dark and winter days filled with sledding.
Ken moved to Trail where he completed Grade 11,12, and senior matric (grade 13). He worked at the Cominco Mill but quickly went on to Normal School upon discovering his deep hatred of night shifts.
He started teaching at the age of 21 and concurrently attended night school, summer school, and completed courses by correspondence over several years to earn his bachelors degree with a dual major in Geography and English.
He married Pat a year after they met in Fruitvale while both teaching. By the time he completed his degree he had two young children and had moved to the Cowichan valley. They were able to buy a property on Maple Bay Road and built the house Ken designed.
Ken taught for a total of 37 years, teaching several different subjects including English, Social Studies, Geography, PE, Typing and Math, and also worked as a counselor. It was Math that he taught at Cowichan High for most of his career. He felt the reason he was an effective math teacher because it didn't come easily to him.
He had an excellent teacher himself who spent time helping him after school and taking him from mediocre to top student in Grade 10. He spent every lunch hour in his classroom helping his students, and was more than happy to lend a hand to students from other classes as well. He was well known to be strict but would never turn away anyone who asked for his advice.
He was a member of the local CDTA and served as its president advocating on behalf of his fellow teachers. He also ran a school club called the Future Teachers club, taught ballroom and square dancing and sponsored the high school curling club.
Ken and Pat were active members of the Duncan curling club and played twice a week and in several bonspiels throughout the year. Ken was on the club board for many years and also served as president. He managed to renovate the club house, build new lockers, and get a new trophy display case built all in one year. Ken and Pat particularly enjoyed the New Years Eve parties at the club! They were wonderful dancers together.
Upon retiring he started a new learning trajectory and took up watercolor painting. His landscapes and botanicals are quite jealously guarded within the family. He had a great love for the land and expressed this in his painting. We have all benefited from his artistry and our walls have all been graced with original artworks. His love of the natural world is very evident.
He lived his life the way he wanted, according to his own values and principles. He loved his job, he loved his wife, he loved his family, he loved his home and he loved this valley. His legacy is not of material things but is his family and his shaping of this community through his diligence and hard work teaching generations of students.
A service will be announced in the near future, please call First Memorial for details. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the local food bank. A scholarship in his name has been set up at Cowichan Senior Secondary.