Kenneth Melvin Spotswood

February 11, 1945November 30, 2015

Kenneth Melvin (Ken) Spotswood died suddenly from heart failure at his home in Kiwanis Village, Victoria, B.C. on November 30, 2015, in his 71st year.

Born in Saint John, NB, February 11, 1945, Ken came to Vancouver as a toddler. He attended Charles Dickens and Sir Charles Tupper (1959-1963) schools, worked in Trail, BC in daytime at the Cominco Smelter, Ltd.. and at night as a radio deejay. He then pursued what became an award-winning career in print and television journalism.

Ken was photo editor/reporter at The Province (Vancouver, 1966-1979), head writer/producer, CKVU-TV News (Vancouver, 1979-1981), Northern Bureau Chief for Southam News/Edmonton Journal (Yellowknife, NWT, 1981-1983), and assignment editor/producer, BCTV Weekend News Hour (Vancouver, 1985-1989).

Ken took media courses at UBC, and in California, New York and Ohio. He wrote, researched, and edited professionally for nearly 50 years. Ken could write complex government reports yet delight in reporting the rescue of a kitten from a tree. He did satirical spots on CBC Radio, narrated films, photographed royalty, prime ministers, musicians, and film stars, but was equally thrilled to photograph a can of Spam at the Acropolis or on the beaches of the Bahamas.

Ken was an actor and comedy writer in Toronto (1983-1985) with touring troupe, First City Fireball Productions, and later acted with the Whitehorse Drama Club.

A deep, abiding respect for First Nations drew Ken to the Yukon. He lived in Whitehorse and Dawson City,Yukon and from 1989-2004 was variously communications officer ( for Yukon Anniversaries Commission, Yukon Electrical Company, RCMP), executive producer, Northern Native Broadcasting, media skills instructor, Yukon College, features writer, Yukon News, tourism promoter and event producer. A noted Yukon historian, Ken's book, The Rush for Souls: Missionaries, Mayhem, and Memories, was published in 2002. He was also a founding member of Northern Writer's Circle and GALA Yukon.

In Vernon, BC, he was public education coordinator (Canadian Mental Health Assoc., 2007). Ken parlayed his struggle with depression into the book Men and Depression – A Silent Epidemic and became an educator/speaker on the subject.

As proprietor of Funtiques (Vernon, 2009-2010), Ken indulged his love of “antiques, collectibles, and weirdness.” In Vernon and in Victoria, BC, where he moved in 2012, Ken was a director of Prime Timers.

An alluring, enchanting man, Ken was inquisitive, expansively intelligent, well-read, and knowledgeable about music genres. He was a gourmet chef who orchestrated elaborate, themed, costume dinner parties, and relished camping/river trips in BC and on the Yukon River.

Ken's outrageous sense of humour triggered unforgettable adventures. He once rode an elephant through downtown Vancouver, and was an incorrigible, unrepentant prankster. Ken could, with impeccable comedic timing, elevate the absurdities and ironies of life into gut-wrenching hilarity.

Ken leaves numerous cousins (especially close to Shawny, Sally, Ron, and Sandi), step-sisters Janice and Joanne, and cherished friends who treasured his presence in their lives.

He was predeceased by six months by his mother, Mary Harrison (nee Patrick) in Vernon (May 24, 2015), godmother, the author Dorothy Farmiloe (May 30, 2015), stepfather, Donald Harrison (2004), father Melvin Spotswood (1974), cousins Charlene Rossetti (1987) and William Spotswood (2002). Ken was very fond of his grandmothers, Eva Spotswood Rose (d.1980) and Anastazia Petryk/Patrick (d.1982).

A Celebration of Life will be held in Richmond, B.C., June 22, 2016, at 2 p.m. Please e-mail John ( for location. A wake/memorial service will take place at Bombay Peggy's Inn, Dawson City, Yukon, June 26, 2016, 2 p.m., with ash interment in the Yukon Order of Pioneers Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Ken wanted to thank a woman (possibly named Angel) who saved his life in May 2015 at the Swartz Bay terminal. If you see this, please contact John ( Ken was also grateful to the quick-responding BC Ferries employees and ambulance crew, and for the care he received at Royal Jubilee Hospital. Special thanks to Meaghan Alford, Stuart Martin, Dr. Jaime Smith, and Ellen & Norm Goguen.


Kenneth Melvin Spotswood

have a memory or condolence to add?

Doug Strachan

June 19, 2016

Ken, your mentoring and encouragement gave me the confidence to change my life. You were a unique and special soul and I'm so glad I had the good fortune to know you.

John Richthammer

June 3, 2016

Celebrations of life will be held in Vancouver (June 22) and Dawson City, Yukon (June 26, 2016), 2016. For further information, please e-mail:

Iris Merritt

April 9, 2016

Gone too soon, my friend.

Joanne Poirier

March 5, 2016

RIP, Ken. Gone but not forgotten.