Kenneth Nairne

Obituary of Kenneth Nairne

On Friday, June 28, 2024, Kenneth James Nairne, loving husband, father and grandfather passed away at the Brandon Regional Health Centre.

Ken was born October 20, 1940, in Portage la Prairie, during the early days of the Second World War, to Fred and Lillian Nairne.

It was a hard scrabble life for Ken and his siblings, Joyce and Brian. The family lived in several small communities in southern Manitoba, eventually settling in Winnipeg, where Ken attended Churchill High School. Ken met Elaine who he would later marry in a partnership that lasted almost 60 years. In time, a son named Douglas was born, followed by another son, Ross, and a daughter, Kathryn (Sutherland).

Ken's presumptive path was to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather - hard working, hard living men who toiled in manual labour and railway jobs. But Ken wanted something else from life and sought a post-secondary education, where he discovered his calling was to social work. Attending school rather than work wasn't a popular decision with everyone in Ken's life - but he persevered, completing a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Social Work and a Master of Social Work from the University of Manitoba.

Ken's career as a social worker began in Swan River where he worked for Provincial Welfare for a year. He returned to school to complete his Master's degree and then moved to Dauphin to work for Child Welfare, where he made many lifelong friends.

In 1971, Ken joined the Society for Manitobans with Disabilities (SMD), now known as Manitoba Possible, where he spent most of his working life as the Executive Director. He brought his young family to Brandon, where he opened SMD's Westman office, and lived for more than 50 years. His work with SMD saw him assist countless individuals and families in Westman, Central and Parkland areas of Manitoba. Following his retirement, Ken was the Executive Director of The Counselling Center in Brandon.

Ken had a passion for gardening, and he made sure his children appreciated the value of a good day's work pulling weeds.

Summers were for camping and long road trips in the family station wagon. More than one tent was pitched in a dark provincial campground under gale force winds and driving rain.

A few tempers were lost along the way, with the threat of leaving a misbehaving son (or two) at the side of the highway often made, but never carried out.

As time went on, children were married, and grandchildren arrived. Ken was blessed with four grandsons (Reid, Cole, Dylan and Sebastian) and two granddaughters (Mei-li and Sienna). He loved his grandchildren with all his heart, and they loved him back. He took great joy from the next generation of his family, whether it was teaching them to play chess, watching their sporting events, digging worms in the garden or teaching them to jump in puddles. He was keenly interested in their studies and careers and enjoyed hearing about their adventures.

Ken lived a life of service and was a dedicated volunteer with the Brandon Lions Club and within the church; leading Bible study groups over the years. He also served on several boards including the YMCA, CMHC and Brandon Access Transit. Ken thoroughly enjoyed attending Wheat King games, working out at the YMCA, and participating in Toastmasters and the Ecumenical men's group. In his later years, Ken decided to continue his university studies and his grandson Cole helped him register for his courses and made sure he found the lecture hall each week. Ken had a deep interest in genealogy and traced his ancestors back to the 17th century, documenting the family's migration to Canada in the early 20" century.

After a journey of almost 84 years, Ken's body grew weary and his soul tired. Having lived a long and full life, it was time to say farewell. He died peacefully in the morning of June 28, with family at his bedside. In his final moments, Ken may have reflected on a life well lived. Ken changed his stars, and his legacy carries on in the lives he touched.

Thank you to PMH Home Care staff, and the BRHC medical and nursing staff for the excellent care Ken received. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Ken can be made to the Brandon Regional Health Centre Foundation, 150 McTavish Ave East, Brandon, MB, R7A 2B3, or the Brandon YMCA, 231 8th Street, Brandon, MB, R7A 3X2 for gym equipment.

A celebration of Ken's life will be held at the Monterey Estates

Banquet Hall, 40 Mockingbird Drive in Brandon, on July 20 at 2:00 p.m.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Kenneth Nairne, please visit Tribute Store

Celebration of Life

2:00 pm
Saturday, July 20, 2024
Monterey Estates Rec Centre
40 Mockingbird Drive
Brandon , Manitoba, Canada
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