In loving memory, we mourn the passing of Kenneth Miller Burgess. Ken passed away peacefully on Saturday July 29, 2023 at Bluewater Health in Sarnia, Ontario in his 96th year. Son of Easton and Clara Burgess, Ken is predeceased by his wife Gertrude “Gertie” Burgess, who passed April 10, 2005, his son Randall “Randy” Michael Burgess, who passed June 30, 2016. Survived by sister Marlane Butterfield, son Terry (Betty) Burgess, granddaughter Terri and two great grandsons.
Ken was a man of many talents who lived a vibrant life with adventures starting as a boy, roaming the marshes of Point Edward, all the way up until his final years where he played piano in a band, travelled extensively, and hosted dinner parties whenever he could. Ken left home at 13 years old to work on the ships and sail the Great Lakes. He met Gertie when she was 21 and he was 15 in Port Arthur, ON while she was working at a hotel that he stayed at. She was disappointed he lied about his age, but he won her heart over the next 3 years and married her as soon as he could at 18. They married at the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church on a Wednesday afternoon in Port Arthur.
He served in the merchant marines from 1943-1945, also at the young age of 15 years old. When he came back from the war, he continued his career as a sailor. He survived two boat disasters, the fire on the Hamonic in July 1945 and the SS Emperor in June 1947, on Lake Superior. He got his Power Engineering diploma in 1954 and his Stationary Engineering certificate in 1968. He worked at the water treatment plant in Point Edward, then at Cabot, OPG in Windsor, and eventually retired from the OPG in Courtright. Him and Gertie spent many years of their retirement traveling, their favourite spot being Palm Springs, California where they were part of a tight knit community of retirees. They also loved Hawaii and went to many Caribbean islands.
Gertie was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Ken moved with her into Rosewood Manor in Sarnia, Ontario when he could no longer take care of her on his own. After her passing, he had health problems of his own and lived out the rest of his days at Rosewood Manor. He spent the better part of two decades at Rosewood. In 2011, he started a band with retired chief of police Bill O’Brien and 18-year-old Danica Sommer who he met on Kijiji. The three were called the Rosewood Trio and the band toured retirement and nursing homes in Sarnia. Danica and Ken remained friends up until the end and had many adventures on the road together. Towards the end, Ken loved to go to the Bluewater Bridge with his nurse Lourdes Greenshields to watch the boats and be treated to ice cream. He was able to host his last dinner party on June 14 of this year and went to his last ball game on July 8, 2023
Cremation has taken place and Ken's ashes will be interred next to Gertie and his parents at Lakeview Cemetery. A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, August 12, 2023, from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. at the Point Edward Ex Servicemen's Association (503 Michigan Aven., Point Edward, ON, N7V 1G4. Text or call Danica for more details 403-795-7377. Donations can be made on Ken and Gertie's behalf to the Alzheimer's Society of Canada www.alzheimer.ca . Arrangements have been entrusted to the D. J. Robb Funeral Home & Cremation Centre Ltd. (102 Victoria Street North, Sarnia, Ontario, N7T 5W9). Memories, messages of condolence or photographs may be shared through www.djrobb.on.ca