Kenneth Kristian Skaaning
1952 - 2021
Kenneth Kristian Skaaning set off on his final journey from life on January 27, 2021. Ken was a no "bull-shit" kind of guy and called it as he saw it. Right up to the bitter end when he pragmatically announced days before his big departure that he "had been here too long". Ken's life was generally well-lived and with few regrets. He lived his life as a journey, not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "Holy shit... what a ride, that was awesome!"
Born in Brooks, AB to Irene (nee Kristensen) and the late Knud Aage Skaaning on February 2, 1952, weighing in at a whopping 10+ lbs, God thankfully broke the mould with Ken that day. He was definitely one of a kind. Being raised on the farm, the third of six kids really shaped Ken's formative years. It resulted in Ken dedicating his life to hard work. But he didn't let it go without a sprinkling of jokes and mischief, often at the expense of others. Ken boasted about how he filled his childhood with obnoxious pranks (like fishing for seagulls) often with his brother, Bob in tow, as they generally served as each other's wingman.
Ken started a long and successful career in the oil field at a very early age. Crude oil must have run in Ken's veins because it was an industry that he really loved and thrived in. His work in the oilpatch led him all over Canada and the USA. From Tuktoyuktuk on the Arctic Circle to the deserts around Bakersfield, CA. Ken loved the change of location, scenery, and people. When Ken had down-time from work he had many make-work projects on the go. He was a Ken-of-all-trades and was a self-proclaimed welder, electrician, plumber, carpenter, arborist, mechanic, cook, and mixologist. As it was often not Ken's "first rodeo" he could successfully construct anything he put his mind to. When at home, you could always find Ken tinkering away in his shop, enjoying his coffee or rum and coke, cooking, watching football, or "holding down the couch" with a nap. Even though Ken loved to work, he equally loved being home with his family.
In September 1980, Ken was set up on a blind date with his future wife, Darlene. After insultingly mistaking her for the babysitter, Ken somehow fooled her into thinking he was a charming individual and after a whirlwind courtship, convinced her to marry him and start a family. They wed on January 10, 1981. Starting in 1982 Ken and Darlene welcomed their greatest achievements into the world. First with their daughter Trina. Followed by their son Trevor in 1987. Ken was a great father and grandfather. When it came to his kids and grandkids, he was like a frozen twinkie, hard on the outside with a soft, gooey inner center.
Ken didn't just march to the beat of his own drum, but he had a whole band that played his own tune. He was a true diamond in the rough. He always did things the "Kenney" way. He was a master builder of great inventions. And he didn't take fashion cues from anyone; as evident in his trademark outfit of blue joggers, plaid coats, Crock shoes, and his Indiana Jones hat. He was comfortable in his own skin and put little emphasis on what people thought of him. Ken had the best sense of humour which his many friends and family can attest to. One of his favourite capers to recant was the time he took his elaborate gorilla costume camping. In an attempt to pull off an epic prank, Ken King Kong-ed his way through the bush, to his misfortune right into a wasp nest. He was a great storyteller and loved recanting his travels and life experiences.
Ken lived true to his Danish roots and was a Viking nomad through and through. He lived in more places than he could count but had a real affection for the northern country. He had a hard time staying settled in one place for any long length of time. The many houses and shops that he built with Darlene are a testament to that and dot the landscape East of Grande Prairie. With the addition of Grandkids to the family, Ken's Marshmellow interior permitted for his final move to be closer to them, to Lacombe, AB.
Words will never be enough to express the sorrow and sadness of losing Ken. He was a remarkable person and will be remembered for his kindness, his generosity, his bad jokes, his inappropriate comments, and his trucker mouth (Duzzy will especially miss his "for f**k sakes"). He was predeceased by his father, Aage. He is survived by his wife Darlene of 40 years, his loving little dachshund Lacey, his daughter Trina (Nick), son Trevor (Catherine), his mother Irene, and his five siblings. He relished in his role of Grandpa to his three grandsons Anson and Hudson (Trina and Nick), and Bryer (Trevor and Catherine). If he left those little boys with any memories it would be that Grandpa had an endless supply of ice cream and also that Grandpa would forever be the reigning champion of the game pull-my-finger as he could out-stink any of them. Left with decades of fond and colourful memories are his large extended family of sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces, and nephews.
Because Ken had way more friends and family than the current COVID restrictions permit us to gather, we will be celebrating Ken's life at a later date.
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