“Sports have always been a huge part of my life and my conversations.
I am a competitor at heart but a true sports fan to my core.”
Kenneth John was welcomed into the world by parents Alfred and Helen (Streeter) Pratt along with his twin sister Katherine (Kathy) by his side on August 15, 1955. The twins joined their older brother Robert (Bob). The Pratt family resided in Chesley and Ken attended Chesley Public School. For high school, Ken made the decision to attend Walkerton & District Secondary School to be a part of the Co-op training program. Through this program, he was able to complete placements at Larsen & Shaw and more, learning different mechanical and hands on skills.
At the age of 16, Ken began at Krug Brothers’ Furniture Factory following in his father and grandfather’s footsteps. Ken worked there until the day it closed. In 1988, he began working for the Town of Chesley doing maintenance such as cutting lawn, painting, and tarring the streets. He worked there for 3 years until his own business began. It started with cutting lawns and snow removal for neighbours, and it grew from there! When his brother-in-law Ivan retired, he helped him with snow removal as well. The work never stopped for Ken!
Anyone that knew Ken knows that sports was his life! From the moment he could walk he either had a baseball bat or a hockey stick in his hand. Ken was unstoppable on the baseball diamond and was a force to be reckoned with on the ice. When they were younger and played hockey outside, Ken would be the one with the shovel cleaning off the ice, keen to begin the game. He was a proud member of the Stingers and loved every team he was able to be a part of. Ken was a big part of the Chesley sports community. He coached many different teams, he umpired, and refereed over the years. Ken played hockey for the Oldtimers until the moment he was too old for the Oldtimers!
When Ken wasn’t playing sports, he was at home watching sports. Ken was an avid fan of any and all of the Toronto teams. If you didn’t cheer for the Toronto Maple Leafs, you would get a tuning in from Ken! Ken would not only watch every game, he would also record the game just in case he fell asleep, although, he would never admit that was why! 🙂 Ken could tell you any detail about any Leafs or Jays game. He could tell you the day the game was, who played, who hit a homerun, or got a hat trick, who got penalties, and every other detail about the game. If someone asked about a certain game, they could expect the tape of the game at their house that same day so they could watch it for themselves. Ken and Kathy attended a few Jays games on bus trips, and he was able to be at one of the last hockey games at the Maple Leaf Gardens. Anyone that walked in Ken’s house could tell he was an avid Leafs and Jays fan with all the memorabilia. In fact, when his family would go to a sports store to find a gift for Ken, it was always a challenge to find something new that he didn’t already have!
Ken was a staple in the Chesley community. He could be found cruising around town on his bike and would always stop to say hello and share a joke or talk about the game from the night before. When more shops downtown were still open, Ken enjoyed going in for breakfast and a coffee and sharing stories. He could make friends anywhere he went. If he wasn’t riding around town, he would already be at the ball diamond or the arena. There wouldn’t be many games that Ken would miss that were going on in town! Ken was so well known that his family couldn’t go anywhere without someone saying “you must be Ken’s sibling!”
Fun, friendly, and funny were some of the many words you could use to describe Ken. He was easy-going but could be stubborn at times. If he didn’t want to do something, there was no way you could get him to do it. He was independent but loved to socialize. Ken was a hard worker. He put his heart and soul into everything he did. Ken was on a “see food” diet, he saw food, he ate it! Ken loved to eat everything and anything! Ken’s family was so important to him. He loved spending time with his siblings and his nieces and nephews. He never missed one of their sporting events.
In December Ken got pneumonia but recovered well. While in for a blood transfusion, he wasn’t feeling well and ended up having a stroke. Ken passed away suddenly at South Bruce Grey Health Centre, Walkerton, on Friday, February 10, 2023 in his 68th year.
Loving brother of Kathy and her husband Ivan Pegelo of Chesley and Robert and his wife Marie of Chesley. Ken will be missed by his nieces, nephews, and cousins. Predeceased by his parents Alfred and Helen Pratt and stepmother Margaret.
Special thank you to the doctors and nurses in the Emergency Departments at the Chesley and Walkerton Hospitals for their compassionate care.
Visitation will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Wednesday, February 15, 2023 from 6 – 8 p.m. Spring interment in Chesley Cemetery.
Memorial donations to the Heart & Stroke Foundation or the Chesley Hospital Foundation would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.