Kenneth Harvey was born on Thursday, October 13, 1932 in Sullivan Township to Harvey Edward and Lillian “Lily” Eleanor (Fenton) Sulkye. Ken was the middle child of five children, Gordon Edward (1930), Betty Eileen (1931), Ken, Gerald Wesley (1938) and Howard Leslie (1941). The Sulkye family resided and farmed in Sullivan Township where Ken attended school. In time, the whole family moved to Chesley.
Like many in his time, Ken did not attend high school but rather headed into the work force. He started out sailing on Great Lake freighters and did this for a few years. Ken also joined the reserves during World War II. Although they never seen any action, I am told they did enjoy the parties! :) In time Ken became enamoured with trucks of any kind. He went to working in the construction industry in Kapuskasing for a couple years. Following this, Ken was able to move back to Chesley and truck for New Life, Strass and Animal Milk Products to name a few. By the mid 1970’s Ken had worked hard enough to enable the purchase of his own gravel truck. In later years Ken's eyesight started to fail him and he had to give up his truck, working for MEI for a couple years before his retirement in 2000.
To know Ken was to know of his absolute love of anything ‘trucking.’ It didn't matter if it was a tandem, tri-axle, semi or anything in between, if you had a question about a truck Ken would have an answer. He had a natural mechanical ability and could fix just about anything. Ken would often be seen using Pledge Furniture Polish to shine his trucks. Of course, it just wasn’t trucks that Ken cared about, he also took great care of his cars. And then there was the lawnmower. . . . . . ask his family about the time Ken towed Steven around the yard in a wagon Ken had fixed up.
Having met at a dance, Ken and Mary McAughey were married on April 7, 1962 in Hanover with their reception being held at the old Elmwood Library. During this time, Ken worked for Karn’s Roofing. Mary and Ken soon welcomed Cathy (1962). The three Sulkyes then moved from Chesley to Durham where Gordon and Howard were living. Son Jim (1965) was born while the family was living in Durham. They then moved to Elmwood where the couple lived until 2000 when Ken and Mary went their separate ways. Luckily, the two were able to remain good friends, despite their divorce. From Elmwood, Ken moved back to Chesley where he enjoyed his apartment just east of the Main St.
When Ken wasn’t working on his vehicles or driving he enjoyed watching Westerns as well as the occasional Crime or Cop show. Like many of us, he was not afraid to grumble about the news from time to time. Apparently, he also liked reading Westerns. His favourite author was Louis L’Amour and had managed to collect all but two of his books. Coffee was a mainstay in Ken's diet and he really enjoyed Chocolate pie or Mississippi Mud.
To say that Ken had a sharp sense of humour would not be an understatement. He was the king of verbal ‘jabs’ using his dry wit. However, there was nothing trivial about Ken’s relationship with his grandchildren. A really cute story is told of how he often referred to Kristen as "Christmas." Ken had trouble remembering Kristen’s name so she soon became Christmas! Ken's smile shone as he discussed with Steven where he was working that week and what kind of problem he and his crew were dealing with; or what tractor trailers Justin had been working on recently and the motor or transmission jobs he had had to repair; or which frail elderly soul Travis had adopted to his heart and was out collecting clothes for, or spending his own money to buy necessities for that person. His love and pride in his family was never questioned. Apparently, there were also a few crazy stories from Ken's youth. "Rusty" Schwartz and Ken made quite the pair and their antics in younger years left them with stories that lasted a life time. He was also proud and exceptionally independent. In turn, Ken taught his family the worth of hard work, the importance of respect and the significance of independence.
Sadly, Ken passed away on Friday, April 6, 2018 in his 86th year.
Loving father of Cathy (Lyle) Dahms and Jim, all of R.R. #1 Bruce Mines. Beloved Gramps to his "boys" Steven and his fiancee Kristen (A.K.A. Christmas), Justin and Travis. Ken will be missed by his sister Betty Karn, brother Gerald (Doreen) and his sister-in-law Betty Sulkye. Special friend always to Mary Alles and loving uncle to many nieces and nephews. Ken was predeceased by his brothers Gordon, Howard, brother-in-law Wilmer Karn and his parents Harvey and Lillian (Fenton) Sulkye.
Cremation has taken place and a graveside service honouring Ken's life will be held at Shiloh Cemetery on Monday May 21, 2018 at 11 a.m. A reception will follow at the Chesley Community Church.
In recognition of the amazing care provided to Ken and his family while in the Owen Sound ICU, please consider a donation to the Owen Sound Hospital Foundation in his memory.Send to friend