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Kenneth Athol Wilson

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Kenneth Athol Wilson, 84, of Chandler passed away on April 3, 2008.
Ken was born to Joshua and Annie Wilson in Craik, Saskatchewan on July 23, 1923. The family moved to nearby Saskatoon where Ken spent his boyhood and became impassioned with hock-
ey. In 1937, with Ken playing center and left wing, Mayfair Public School hockey team won the J. D. McDonald Cup for Saskatoon. As a young man, Ken moved to Trail, British Columbia to work in the mines and soon was drafted into the Canadian Army during WWII. In 1946, he moved from Trail, British Columbia to Fort Worth, Texas to work for the Rangers, a hockey team in the United States Hockey League owned by Eddie Shore. In 1950, Ken became the manager of the brand new Hobart Arena in Troy, Ohio and booked and promoted many of the leading acts of the 1950s including the first Ohio venue for Elvis Presley on November 24, 1956. He also booked Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Nat King Cole, Tex Ritter, Sonja Henie, Victor Borge, Liberace, Guy Lombardo, and Patti Page. The highlight of his time in Troy was meeting and marrying Betty Brumbaugh. Ken was a minor hockey league general manager and or owner for forty years. With twenty one years in the International Hockey League, five years in the Continental Hockey League and single seasons in the National Hockey League, Western Hockey League and, Eastern Hockey League, Ken was known for having a keen eye for young talent as evidenced by his players winning 'Rookie Awards' a total of seven times. Ken and Betty along with their three children lived in various cities in the U.S. and Canada including Omaha, Des Moines, Toledo, and Vancouver, B.C. In 1991 Ken and Betty moved from Knoxville, Tennessee where they had lived for five years working with their elder son Jeff on a weekly newspaper. They retired to Sunbird Golf Resort in Chandler where Ken worked as a golf marshal and enjoyed golfing and weekly poker games with the guys. Ken's greatest joy of the last ten years has been his grandson, Parker. Ken loved his family and friends and kept in close touch by his frequent phone calls which we all now are sorely missing. Dad, you are dearly, dearly missed and our family will never be the same without you. Ken is preceded in death by his parents, sisters Etna and Rebecca, brother Mervyn and a newborn son. He is survived by a sister Florence, brother Al, his loving wife of 54 years, Betty, son Jeff (Pam), daughter Jenny (Casey), son Tim (Trish) and grandchildren Parker, Sierra, and Bryan. There will be a Celebration of Life service for Ken on Saturday April 26th in the Sunbird Ballroom at 11:00am for family and friends. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to Hospice of the Valley 1510 East Flower Street Phoenix, AZ 85014. Arrangements made by Valley of the Sun Mortuary.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Apr. 8, 2008
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