A resident of Morrisburg for the past 24 years, Kenneth Gordon Strader passed away at Winchester District Memorial Hospital on Monday, October 15, 2012. He was 82.
Ken was born April 26, 1930, to Grace and Dwight Strader, on the original Strader farm in Dundela. He was the eldest of nine children; five girls and four boys. Everyone knew him as Ken. He was a long-standing resident of Matilda Township, having lived briefly in Florida, before returning to South Dundas.
Ken met his share of challenges in life. He suffered complications at birth; however, it did not prevent him from accomplishing what he set out to do in life.
Being the risk taker that he was and never afraid of taking on a challenge Ken undertook many projects. The first being to own and operate his first school bus in 1954, which he later expanded to include several school buses and highway coaches.
He was forever envisioning ways to get ahead in life. The bus lines didn’t seem to capture his energy level enough, so he added a new venture being the “Stra-Dish” Restaurant, which he opened in April, 1958, at the young age of 28.
During this time, he met the love of his life, Linda Marie Payne. They were married at Elma in 1959, and in 1960, their daughter Penny was born.
While carrying out his role as a husband and father, Ken still found time to own/operate several businesses, including a snowmobile franchise, Admiral appliance dealership, a used car dealership, and he even dabbled in real estate.
Ken always had a passion to live life in the sunny south so in the late 70’s he made that dream come true when he sold his businesses in Canada and moved the family to Dade City, Florida where he purchased an orange grove and later opened a coffee shop. He expanded the coffee shop to become a full menu diner which was family owned and operated until 1987, at which it was dissolved and the family returned to Canada.
Ken enjoyed carpentry and sitting and drinking coffee with family and friends, until the wee hours of the morning.
Friday night was family night at the Daffodil Restaurant in Iroquois, after which he would settle in at Cephus Sypes’ kitchen table for many hours of attempting to solve the world’s problems over several pots of coffee. Ken was known to pull in a driveway for a visit where ever he could find the kitchen light on.
Ken often spoke of things from the past; old buildings, antique cars or furniture, or attending auction sales with his grandmother Nettie Bell Strader.
His most prized possession was an RCA Victrola from the 1920’s that he purchased at the age of 15, with money borrowed from his grandmother. Ken’s daughter is still the proud owner of that Victrola.
Ken was always willing to share his knowledge of history, politics, and life in general. He was never afraid to share his opinion on any matter, regardless of whom he offended.
He will be remembered most for his natural spirit of giving. To his family and friends, he was a very kind person and was always ready to help. He always had a solution to every problem and had his ways of making things simple. He never asked anyone for help, but he was a very generous man…never wanting to be acknowledged for anything he did. When he helped, he simply helped out of the kindness of his heart; ensuring that everyone had a means to get ahead in life.
Ken made sure that his daughter never lacked for anything, however, he ruled with an iron fist. He encouraged Penny to try different things in life including piano lessons, singing in the church choir, and most of all becoming a “lady”. As a father, he didn’t always agree with all his daughter’s choices in life, but he was always there to support her.
Growing up on a farm, Ken was very fond of animals. After Linda passed away in 1988, Ken’s best friend was his cat “Buster”. Buster held a special place in his heart and Ken truly enjoyed his companionship.
Ken is survived by his daughter Penny Strader-McMillan (Jim) of Iroquois, his siblings Edna Disheau (Arthur Jackson) of Brechin, Lorna (Ernie) Lascelle of Inkerman and Willie (Audrey) of Cardinal.
He was predeceased by his wife Linda, his brothers Glen and John and sisters Jean Jensen, Margaret Barkley and Anna Casselman-Nicolier. He is also survived by nieces and nephews.
Friends called at the Marsden and McLaughlin Funeral Home, Williamsburg, on Wednesday from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m.
Funeral service was held at the funeral home on Thursday, October 18th at 11 a.m., with Rev. Janet Evans officiating. Cremation followed.
Pallbearers were Shawn McMillan, Steven McMillan, Cephus Sypes, Guy Hart, Gary Hart and Keith Beckstead.
Interment of cremated remains was at Dundela Cemetery. Donations to the O.S.P.C.A. would be gratefully acknowledged by the family. Online condolences may be made at marsdenmclaughlin.com.