Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ken Miller passes

Ken Miller has died in Nova Scotia.

When I first moved to Bowen, Ken got my attention.  He was a short man with a straight laced attitude, quiet and shy.  He reminded me of the many people I have met in the Cariboo in BC.  He often stood with his thumbs locked in the belt buckles of his jeans, chest thrust out, proudly taking in the world.

Over the years I got to know him a little, chatting at the beach in Tunstall Bay where he was a regular fixture in the summertime, hanging with his family in the "Miller's Kitchen."  I had some great conversations there with him about his days beach combing the Bowen shores.

Outside of Tunstall Bay, Ken was perhaps best known for being the master of ceremonies at the annual polar bear swim every new year's day.  In these videos from 2008 and 2009 you can see Ken wielding his bullhorn, wearing his winter hat and sunglasses, tending the fire, counting down and encouraging everyone to get wet and cold.  At the end of the 2010 video, he has a now poignant signing off.  The polar bear swim won't be the same without him.

Ken took ill last February and was in hospital in Nova Soctia.  He died there on Monday.  Condolences to Susan, Kelly and Cindy.

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