Obituary of Bert Gordon Kenney
January 20, 1931 – June 21, 2019
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Bert, on June 21, 2019 at the age of 88.
He is survived by his wife, Shirley, two children; LaDine (Duane) Stevenson and Vaughn (Marny) Kenney, four grandchildren; Clancy (Rachel) Kenney, Cole (Courtney) Kenney, Tarynne (Mike) Bowen, and Brett (Karli) Stevenson, and five great-grandchildren; Carson, Owen, Emily, Jack and Harper.
Bert is also survived by his brothers Murph (Sandy) Kenney and Bill (Linda) Kenney, his sister Doreen (Richard) Chollack, sister-in-law, Kay Kenney, and brother-in-law, Wayne Anderson. He was predeceased by his parents, Evelyn and William Kenney, brother Wray Kenney and sister Donna (Kenney) Anderson.
Bert was born in Coaldale, Alberta on January 20, 1931. He grew up in a number of small farming communities in the Lethbridge area where he excelled academically and played every sport he could fit into his schedule. At the age of fifteen, he landed a coveted job working in the warehouse at John Deere Company in Lethbridge. This was the beginning of a thirty-five year career with John Deere, a company he was so passionate about, we teased him that his blood was green.
In 1955, Bert married the love of his life, Shirley Smith. On June 30, 2019, they would have celebrated their 64th anniversary. During his thirty-five years with John Deere, Bert and Shirley moved around the prairie provinces, raising their children and travelling to various places around the world with the company. Bert loved telling stories of his years with John Deere, his adventures on the road, and the people he met along the way. We have no doubt there has never been a man who loved John Deere as much as Bert. If you step into his office, you will be taken back in time through decades worth of memorabilia and keepsakes.
After retiring at the age of fifty-seven, Bert and Shirley moved back to Grande Prairie to spend time with their growing family. Bert continued to work for John Deere on a contract-basis and conducted audits throughout the Peace Country. In his free time, he spent endless hours working around the acreage, woodworking in his shop, and pursuing his new favourite hobbies, hunting, golf and slow-pitch.
Bert was an integral part of the Grande Prairie Senior Slow-Pitch League and multiple slow-pitch teams in their retirement community in Mesa, Arizona. He had many fond memories of spending time and playing ball with his teammates, many of whom became his closest friends. Even after Bert was unable to play the game himself, he coached and managed the teams that had become such a significant part of his life.
Bert and Shirley spent twenty-two winters in Mesa, Arizona, making many new friendships and spending time with friends from Grande Prairie. Bert kept busy playing ball and golf, going for coffee with the guys and touring around the Phoenix area. Extra-curricular activities invariably included “The Suitcase” his liquor cabinet to go. They maintained their place until April of this year.
Bert was always up-to-date on the latest sports, news and political information and his daily newspaper and the six o’clock news was a must. He loved to sit and discuss these topics with anyone who would engage, and always had sound advice to offer those who sought it.
Bert spent much of his retirement at Vaughn’s farm, helping with the horses and various projects through the years. He loved working with the foals each year, and his “students” excelled as anyone who has been fortunate enough to own one can attest. His last fencing project was completed a few weeks ago and it could be the last straight fence on the place.
Bert loved spending quality time with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His grandchildren have fond memories of working with him in his beloved shop, boating at Saskatoon Lake, hunting in the fall, and picking fruits and vegetables in the garden. Bert always took time to attend their sporting events and never missed a milestone. He was a family man, and there are three generations of Kenney’s who have learned their table manners from the best.
Bert will always be remembered for his quick wit, kind-heart, contagious smile, his willingness to help with any task and his fantastic white hair. He was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He will be dearly missed by his family and friends.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Bear Creek Funeral Home/Richmond Reception Centre, 11802 99 Avenue, Grande Prairie, Alberta on Saturday, June 29 at 1:00 pm.
Donations in memory of Bert can be made to KidSport Grande Prairie; Box 851, Grande Prairie, Alberta T8V 3R5; kidsportcanada.ca/alberta/grande-prairie/donation/ This organization provides support to children to remove financial barriers that prevent them from playing organized sport, something that was very important to Bert, or a charity of one’s choice.
Care entrusted to Bear Creek Funeral Home 780 830 7742 www.bearcreekfuneral.com