Kenneth Earl was born on Thursday, January 1, 1942, to proud parents Mable Mary (Lorenz) and Lawrence “Lorne” Earl Yule in his grandmother’s house in Chesley. He was the second eldest of three children: Isobel Mary (1940), Ken, and Donald “Donnie” Lawrence (1957). The Yules moved a fair bit during Ken’s youth with stops in Owen Sound, Acton, and Fergus. However, Ken always had fond memories of visits to Chesley and his grandparent’s home. Ken’s grandfather, who was better known as “Pop” was a pillar of love, support, and guidance to Ken during his early years. His grandma on the other hand was known to spoil Ken with her delightful lemon pies… yum!
It shouldn’t be a big surprise to hear that Ken was not a die-hard scholar. In fact, many of you probably heard this from Ken himself, as he always said, “I liked school so much that I spent two years in each grade….” I am told he wasn’t too far off! Lol! After grade six, enough was enough, and he headed off into the real world. It was during this time however that Ken fancied a neighbour girl by the name of Eleanor Annie May Henderson. He was only ten when they first met. At the age of sixteen Ken was driving home and noticed Eleanor walking home from swimming, whereby he stopped and asked her if she would like a ride home. She replied with a “yes” and as they say, the rest is history. The young couple were married on Saturday, November 26, 1960, a cold, snowy day by The Rev. Harry Baetz at St. James Lutheran Church in Elmira.
The newlyweds settled in Fergus, and Ken began working alongside his dad at the family business, Yule Autobody in Fergus. The Yule clan began to grow with the arrival of Jamie in 1961, Jeffery followed in 1964, and last, but not least Lisa in 1969. Being self-employed, Ken was usually forced to put in long hours to support his young family. In time, Ken went on to work for Roy Fletcher at Fletcher’s Autobody on Highway 10 between Fergus and Guelph. Following this, Ken worked for Jerry Henderson at Henderson Haulage & Collision, where he completed bodywork and drove trucks for twelve years. It was also here where he earned his nickname “Gordy.” While working for Jerry, Ken’s duties also included operating a snowplow in the winter months.
The late 70’s were a difficult few years for Ken, and his family, as he lost both his siblings tragically in a matter of a couple of years. Isobel, whom Ken was very close with, died in 1978, and Donnie the following year in 1979. With all this being said, it should not be a surprise that Ken and Eleanor were ready for a change and therefore jumped at the opportunity to purchase their own business, the Dobbinton General Store. It included a convenience store, gas pumps, and a body shop. The family took ownership on June 15th and called it home for the next three years. Following that, they moved further down Bruce Rd. 40 in 1982 whereby they bought a property with a bigger shop for Ken to continue his bodywork business.
Sadly, tragedy struck the Yule family again in 1986 when Lisa died in a car accident on July 12th. She was only 16. Together, with the support of family and friends, Eleanor and Ken began the long road ahead and tried to make the best of each day. By 1988 Ken took a job with Waste Management in Mount Forest and the couple relocated to the community to reduce his commute. Unfortunately, he was forced to retire in 1997 after heart surgery and with his health beginning to decline.
Anyone who knew Ken knew he was not afraid of hard work and could have easily been described as a workaholic. I am told he also liked to “play” just as hard and was known as a jokester and a man who just liked to hang out with friends and family and just shoot the shit! When the kids were young, the Yules spent a lot of family time camping. They began with a tent trailer before Ken converted an older bus into their next trailer. Their last purchase was a motorhome, whereby they enjoyed countless weekends away and vacations as a family. Ken also loved to fish but not for too long… or should we say he lacked patience? A story was shared whereby he would often pull up to a local fishing hole, and quickly jump out. By the time Eleanor had the kid’s seatbelts undone and was getting them out of the car, Ken would be walking back to the vehicle and often blurt out… “Back in the car!”
Ken also enjoyed snowmobiling in his younger days and had a real love of animals, particularly his dogs, Mya and Missy, and his riding horses. Prince, a Pinto, with his brown and white spots was a favourite. Likewise, if you are looking for another good story ask Eleanor or the kids about the big Appaloosa, he brought home for Eleanor… When not out horsing around (sorry… Ken would have liked that!) he could often be found working away in his shop. Countless hours were spent working on and restoring his 1973, fire engine red, Dodge short box power wagon.
When it came to food, Ken loved his chicken, particularly KFC fried chicken. That resulted in many KFC Fridays, which were washed down by the occasional (or more) Labatt Blue! More than a few of you probably had the opportunity to enjoy one of Ken’s cookies. The name might suggest that Ken made these sugar cookie delights, however, I am told they got this name because he just liked to eat them! 🙂 There were also many trips to Chuck’s Roadhouse for Steak and beer with family. It shouldn’t be a big surprise to hear that Ken was always interested to know whose turn it was to pay… Lol! Like most of us, he enjoyed money, particularly cash, and always looked forward to getting his allowance from Eleanor. Although not big travelers, Ken and Eleanor enjoyed trips to the East Coast, Nashville, and Florida… his only trip on a plane! When it came to television, wrestling was Ken’s go-to!
In 2016, Ken and Eleanor moved to Hanover to be closer to family. Here they enjoyed a simple life, surrounded by friends and family. In recent years, Ken’s health has declined further, and although limited physically one could never stop the smart-ass remarks. Eleanor became his caregiver and allowed Ken to fulfill his wish, of remaining at home. The last several weeks saw a further decline, with Ken often just eating his famous toast and jam or his beloved peaches. Sadly, Ken passed away at Hanover & District Hospital, with his loving family at his side, on Friday, April 7, 2023, in his 82nd year.
Beloved husband of Eleanor (Henderson). Loving father of Jamie Yule (Elizabeth Bandrychuk) of Hanover and Jeff (Brenda) Yule of Chesley. Cherished grandfather of Rob (Trish), John (Sarah), Lloyd (Amanda), Alissa (Allan), Andrew (Amy), Amy (Josh) and great-grandfather of Shyla, Arianna, Annabelle, Layla, Ava, Lilly, Jack, Isaiah, and Abigail. Ken was predeceased by his daughter Lisa Yule, daughter-in-law Janet Yule, grandson Cory Yule, sister Isobel Copeland, brother Donnie Yule and his parents Lorne and Mabel (Lorenz) Yule.
Visitation will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home on Thursday, April 13, 2023, from 6 – 8 p.m. and on Friday, April 14, 2023, from 12 noon until the time of the funeral service at 1 p.m. Private family interment in Belsyde Cemetery, Fergus.
Memorial donations to the Canadian Cancer Society would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.