KENNETH CHARLES LANGSTON

Forever a night owl, Ken set off on his final journey in the wee hours of March 9, 2021, at Parkview Place, Winnipeg. Born in Winnipeg to Cecelia (nee Fisher) and Archibald Langston, Ken grew up on Alexander Avenue, adjacent to Winnipeg’s north end, an area he was especially proud to call his own.

 

In 1954, at just seventeen, Ken joined the navy and did several tours on ship before working in port at CFB Esquimalt as a stores clerk. He met Leona deBanou on shore leave in North Vancouver, and they were married in 1957, settling in Victoria B.C. In his spare time, Ken enjoyed building and racing stock cars at Western Speedway. After leaving the navy and with a young family to support, he explored various business options before finding his calling in the inventory business.

 

Ken and now-partner, Lorna, moved to Montreal in the early ‘70s, establishing Atlantic Inventory Services, and quickly accumulating accounts from Ottawa to the Maritimes. He loved the Eastern Townships and Atlantic Canada, especially New Brunswick, where he enjoyed antique hunting and discovering different cooking styles and recipes.

 

In the late ‘70’s, his North End roots called. Lured by the promise of decent Ukrainian sausage and rye bread, easy-to-find perogies and Kelekis hot dogs, Ken and Lorna returned to Winnipeg. Ever the entrepreneur, Ken quickly went to work buying and selling collectibles, delivering soil and gravel with his dump truck, and driving the occasional long haul trucking trip south of the border.

 

Ken’s happiest years were spent in Beausejour at the cottage he built on the Brokenhead River. His ‘can-do’ attitude made him a skilled and self-taught craftsman. If he couldn’t figure out how to build, fix or tackle a job himself, he would find someone who could because, as he always said, ‘he knew a guy.’ Never content to just sit and watch the river flow past his window, in those early years Ken planted a big garden, looked out for his neighbours, and delivered food hampers to the needy at Christmas. Then, at an age when most people would be content to retire, Ken went into the hot dog business (those memories of Kelekis ran deep). He set himself up with his BBQ Junction cart, and for several years during the warmer months, he could often be found serving hungry customers outside the Beausejour Legion at closing time.

 

Ken especially loved dogs (the live ones too) and kids, maybe because he remained a kid at heart. He was a fantastic raconteur who always had a story to tell. He was also big-hearted and stubborn, funny and opinionated. Even in his final years when dementia had robbed him of so much, he would still make the occasional witty (and sometimes politically incorrect) observation about life, and he was still assigning nicknames to people, saving his sugar packs for the resident with a sweet tooth and passing on a shirt to someone who needed it.

Predeceased by partner Lorna Martin, Ken is survived by daughter Laura (Barry), son Darrell (Margaret), grandchildren Tlell, Brendan, and Zachary, a great-grandson, Henry, sister Corinne, brothers Archie and Grant, nieces Amanta and Donna, and nephew Dominic. A special thank you to the nurses and care aides at Parkview Place, and to Clarke Gallagher and David Kathler for showing Ken so much kindness, compassion and humanity these last few years.

 

Ken did not want a service. Instead, he would like you to raise a glass in his honour, eat something delicious (preferably North End or Maritime inspired), and do a kindness for someone less fortunate.

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