Each of us, sitting and thinking about Ken Peck last week, had specific memories. Ken died February 12 after several months of physical struggle. He was 91.
Of the several hundred people giving thought to Ken, I suspect we were unified in one thought… here was a man whose twinkle was the sum of his parts. He was the kind of person focussed on who you were, rather who he was.
We first met when I was a young newspaper editor and he was head of Planning for Barrie, early 70’s. He brought to that position Royal Canadian Air Force military experience and the precision that dotted i’s and crossed t’s on behalf of the municipality. He spent his municipal years in the old city hall, now immortalized by the Mulcaster St arch where the building once was.
Our connection was cemented when I editorialized in his favour during a political upheaval that moved him from Planning to Human Resources. It was what you might call a ‘dirty move’ motivated by ill political will and I think Ken was grateful that someone recognized this.
Ken Peck never forgot a name. He connected with people. He achieved a lot in his years on this planet, starting organizations like Probus, contributing enormously to Rotary (19 years perfect attendance), to his church, to his family, to his community. He did much of the research for the Streetwise in Barrie history book, published in 2001.
He achieved much, but it’s who Ken WAS as a person that mattered most. He is a rare individual who took pride in just being in this world. He connected. He cared about people. He lead by example. He was a man who held back emotion but who felt strongly. He didn’t care about how much you had, but how much you were really mattered!
He never forgot the names of your kids or your spouse, or what work you were doing. With a voice that resonated with enthusiasm, Ken connected! It’s that simple. And the people paying tribute to Ken just one week ago were unified in that love of the man. Stories flew… remember when Ken did this, or remember when Ken did that… with laughter that he would have enjoyed.
WIK NFE… these were the letters he scratched on an envelope during a funeral one day. Ken was attending along with his family, and made note of his feelings with these letters. When I kick; no family eulogy. Ken was an inwardly emotional man…inward. No family eulogy. And so his wife, Doreen and daughters Colleen and Janine and grandchildren sat quietly, no doubt with specific memories, while others told of their lives with Ken.
It’s a terrific tribute to a person when so many people can just smile, simply smile, when they hear the name, Ken Peck. Influenced thousands, and loved openly and with enthusiasm. What more could you request?