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January 22, 2024

In loving memory ~

Ken Laine, devoted son, husband, father and grandfather, passed away on Jan. 22, 2024, at the age of 96. He is predeceased by his beloved wife, Beth. He is lovingly remembered by his daughters Robin (Rob) and Jude; his grandchildren Jana (Stephen), Sarah (Cristobal), Jonah (Kathryn), Evan (Kourtney) and Marilyn (Kyle); his sister Helen; and sister-in-law, Marion. He is survived by seven great-grandchildren including two who just arrived and one on the way.

Ken was born in 1927 in the district of New Finland, Saskatchewan. He was raised in the farming communities of Tantallon and Livelong, an upbringing which shaped his independence and resourcefulness. In one of his boyhood stories, the students of Deer Run School piled into the back of a farmer's truck and drove for several hours to see King George on the Royal Train Tour of Canada in 1939. After ice cream cones at a local creamery and a sleepover in a park, the trip culminated in a fleeting moment, as the children caught a glimpse of "the royal wave" from the passing train, leaving Ken bewildered and amused by all the fuss. Later, Ken's family moved to Salmon Arm where their property was in close proximity to the railway line. He got a job with the CPR based in Revelstoke as an engine wiper, with aspirations of becoming a train engineer. After his first shift, he said his brand-new overalls were so thick with grease he could stand them up in the corner. Then, once his first month's wages shrank to just a few coins due to the cost of room and board, he decided to follow a different track. He soon found work in a cabinet maker's shop and developed a mastery in his new trade as a finishing carpenter. One of his first building projects was a runabout boat which he would run up and down the arms of Shuswap Lake.

Work in the building trade took Ken to Burns Lake where he met Beth, an RN from Toronto, who was doing a locum at the hospital. On their first date, he took her for a ride in his handcrafted boat and, among other things, she was impressed by his "nice car". They were married the following year in 1954 and decided to settle in Quesnel. They bought a piece of property for $450 and Ken built their first home from a picture he had cut out of a magazine. Soon they had two daughters to fill the extra bedrooms. Word got around that Ken was a skilled finishing carpenter and his family doctor asked if he would build him a custom home at Dragon Lake. This led him to start his own contracting business and build other custom homes in the area. Ken loved being his own boss and took great pride in his craft. Always a hard worker, in his spare time he built other homes for his family to move into. Each family home had a requisite Finnish sauna and a meticulously cared-for carpentry workshop with tools that allowed him to fix or build anything. During those years, many vacations were spent on road trips to visit family in Vancouver or in Hanover, Ontario. Long road trips would often start at 5 AM and continue well after the no vacancy signs started to light up. Summers were spent camping, boating and waterskiing at local lakes.

After their daughters moved to the coast, Beth and Ken relocated to Abbotsford where they retired and happily spent the rest of their marriage together, a special bond that lasted for 63 years. They enjoyed trips to Hawaii, Ontario, Nevada, the Oregon Coast, Paris, the South of France and Switzerland where Ken had a lasting impression of riding the cogwheel train to the alpine village of Wengen. Beth and Ken loved hosting many family celebrations for birthdays, anniversaries, and seasonal holidays and looked forward to reciprocal gatherings at their daughters' homes. Ken enjoyed spending time with his grandkids, whether it was taking them to a wave pool, making teddy bear-shaped pancakes, playing board games or playing cards. He was a sharp card player and was partial to a Finnish card game called "Dog" that he learned from his parents and that his grandchildren learned (the hard way) from him. Ken was physically strong and possessed an inner fortitude that allowed him to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. In his later years, he took up golfing which he enjoyed playing into his 90's, especially when playing with his grandson at the local course. Ken had a positive outlook on life and a steadfast determination to succeed in the things important to him, all the while living by the adage, "one day at a time". He will be fondly remembered for his kindness and keen sense of humour.

Ken's family expresses their heartfelt appreciation to the staff at Evergreen Hamlets who cared for him over the past 17 months and also to the staff at Surrey Memorial who cared for him at the end of his life.