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VOL. 76 PART 2 MARCH 2018
authority figures. He didn’t shy away from asking difficult questions. His
cross-examinations were notoriously lengthy and frequently devastating.
His work for First Nations women in the late 1970s brought about significant
changes to the Indian Act. He had a booming yet oddly entrancing voice that
was among the most distinctive in the history of the profession. It thundered
in courtrooms and echoed throughout hallways.
Ken never worked for a firm in his life and was one of the most successful
sole practitioners in Kamloops. He operated out of various offices in his
career. In the nineties, he rented a poorly lit and chilly upstairs suite on Victoria
Street that, once Ken had set up his mountains of files, looked like
something out of a Mickey Spillane novel. By the early 2000s, he packed up
and moved back to the basement of his house in Brocklehurst, hanging the
hardware store sticker “Office” on the front of the door to a single room that
nobody other than Ken ever entered, largely because of the disorganization
and clutter that made sense only to him.
Ken spent most of his weekday mornings and afternoons, when he was
not in court or on the road, at the Kamloops courthouse library. And
although he knowingly violated every tenet of library etiquette (the “Quiet
Please” signs that are staples of every library were anathema to him), his
sub-office became a meeting place for lawyers and occasionally judges, and
he was always happy to dispense advice, wit and wisdom from his chair.
And while laypeople who wandered in were often bewildered by the
cacophony that emanated from his office, Ken greeted everyone who came
into the library and was happy to assist those who seemed overwhelmed by
the court process.
That was simply part of his gregarious nature. Stories of Ken’s kindness
to others are legion. Ken said hello or good morning to all he met. He particularly
enjoyed engaging servers in restaurants and was always a generous
tipper. When his daughter’s in-laws came to visit from Ireland one year,
they insisted on picking up the tab at a restaurant in Vancouver. Knowing
that gratuities are often incorporated into the bill in Ireland, Ken discreetly
asked the server as to the size of the tip she had received, and then slipped
her some extra money upon learning that she had been given less than was
customary in North America.
He passionately supported the local arts and local businesses. If there
was a major event in the city or a fundraiser, Ken and Delda were always
Ken often gave work to law students who were short of employment in
the summers. One year he took on an articling student who had been let go
mid-articles by his firm and started him on a path toward a productive