Kenneth Clayton Ross was born in Edmonton on March 9, 1945. He passed away on June 12, 2019, at the age of 74 years.
Ken leaves to mourn his wife Rachel, his daughter Carla and daughter Tamara (Tammy). He loved his son in laws, Ray and Alvin (Gerald) and “the boys” were his sons as much as the girls were his daughters. Ken’s grandchildren, and his beautiful great granddaughter were the light of his life. They are, in order of age; Ryan, Samantha and Keaton, Tanya, Callen, Regan and Brianna (great granddaughter).
Ken leaves his mother Rose, his sisters Dolores (Albert), Karen (Vince) and their families. Ken also leaves his brother in law Johnny and sisters in law Leona, Judy (Lawrence) and Louise (Archie) and their families. Ken leaves his lifetime best friend and brother from another mother – Dennis Adams and Dennis’ family.
Ken had a wide extended group of friends who became family, including the Eaton family, the Steinwnad family, the Grinde family and the Bruce family. Alven and Joslien Wannechko were not only in-laws, but family and friends. They have been a constant source of support, assistance, love and friendship. Then of course, there was his poolhall family and finally, the CW Sears kids.
Ken was predeceased by his uncle Mervin Ross, father Clayton Oliver Ross, his Father in law John Mahowich and his mother in law, Cecelia Mahowich.
Ken and Rachel both worked extremely hard all of their lives. Ken worked as a farm hand, a miner, a mechanic and a farmer, operating his own farm. He was also an entrepreneur and had two businesses, Ken’s Small Engines and Tofield Fun and Games, the local arcade. In later years, Ken helped Rachel with her business as custodian of CW Sears school. The farm and the arcade were a family affair. After finishing their “day jobs”, Ken and Rachel would head out to the farm, taking Tamara to help while Carla worked at the arcade. After chores, Ken would take over at the arcade and work until late. Together with Rachel, Ken taught his girls the gift of hard work, perseverance and reward. Ken didn’t finish high school, a fact that bothered him, but what he didn’t realize is that all who knew him knew that he was incredibly smart, and could complete the work of a veterinarian, an engineer and a heavy-duty mechanic. He was also a counsellor for those who needed a hand up, an ear or just a quiet moment of comradery.
Ken was always the first one to lend a helping hand, whether to a neighbor with a tractor breakdown or a friend in need of support. His family affectionately called him MacGyver as he could build anything and find a solution for every problem.
During the arcade days, everyone who came in called him Dad, and Rachel, Mom. Together, they ran a clean establishment, one that was safe for their young daughters to spend time in, respectful enough for their parents to visit and enjoy a game of pool, and of course, fun for the clients to come to. They built lifelong relationships with many of their “kids” who came in to visit. Ken didn’t judge, although he ruled with a firm hand. He and Rachel sobered kids up, drove them home, listened to their problems and supported them. There are too many to name but know that if you were one of Ken’s kids from the games room, he never forgot you, and you mattered. We, also know, from the messages and comments that we’ve received, that he mattered too.
Ken’s farm was his life. He loved animals and taught his girls the value of nature, life in the country and the joy of a good dog by one’s side. One of the hardest and saddest tasks for him was selling his cattle this past fall. He loved his cows, and thankfully, several of them found a home with Tammy, so he was still able to see them. He ensured that his girls had horses to ride, cars to drive, and taught them to do both. Together, Ken and Rachel raised their girls to be honest and open, to make good choices, and to ask for help when they needed it.
Ken and Rachel’s door was always open for family and for friends, the coffee was always on and a good time and laughter could always be had.
Ken’s strength was known to all. He conquered many serious illnesses and injuries, and in the end, he also had the last laugh at cancer. Sadly, in 2018, Ken was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He bravely battled, still making jokes and smart comments to his doctors and nurses, and smiling at his family, defying his illness. In the early hours of June 12, 2019, Ken passed swiftly due to a heart attack. This was his wish, to go quickly and not have the cancer take him.
Ken opted not to have a funeral, wishing instead for those who knew him to rejoice for his freedom from pain, to remember him fondly and to celebrate him.
A celebration of Ken’s life will be held at a later date. Cremation has taken place. Donations in Ken’s memory can be made to the Cross-Cancer Institute, to any animal shelter, or to the Alberta Heart and Stroke Foundation.