RUDY KEHKLA
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KEHKLA, RUDY January 12, 1950 - June 18, 2021 Lover of life; larger than life. Exceptional in so many ways - with warmth, caring, and profound insight. He had a strong passion for sailing, kayaking, skiing, frisbee. Scrabble master. Nature lover. Fascinated by weather - prayed for snow, loved a good storm, being in a tent in the rain. Storyteller. Beach-comber. Explorer. Rudy was always drawn to the ocean, lakes. Perhaps started with trips with his parents, and sister cottaging in Maine. Summers at the family cottage on 12 Mile Bay. Sailed for 2 years down the Atlantic coast to the Caribbean, crewing on sailboats there, leading to an Atlantic crossing on the tall ship, Thor Heyerdahl. Returning to Canada, enjoyed cottaging, camping, solo trips to Killarney by kayak. His final destination brought him back to the ocean to his waterfront property in Nova Scotia. He was surrounded by an artistic family, particularly inspired by his grandfather. Rudy completed his Bachelor of Science, expanding his understanding of human anatomy and went on to study Architecture. Starting with sketching, his creativity evolved to assembling rocks into sculptures and on to working with wire. He described his wire sculptures as "sketching in air." His use of negative space created a 3D image casting a perfect 2D shadow. He was represented by galleries throughout Canada, with his sculptures landing around the globe. For many years Rudy exhibited at the "One of a Kind Show" where he had been inducted into their "Hall of Fame". Loving father to 2 beautiful children, Elliott and Erin, whom he adored, and who believed he could fix anything, including their broken clay sculptures. He will be greatly missed, he truly was One of a Kind. Survived by partner Jill, son Elliott, daughter Erin, sister Debby, brother-in-law Grant, and aunt Edith.

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Published in Toronto Star on Jun. 25, 2021.
Memories & Condolences
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36 entries
September 4, 2021
I am devastated to hear of Rudy’s passing.
We met him several yrs ago in Toronto and have bought several of his works. From his fine wire, copper wire and granite pieces.
He was larger then life and so filled with passion and life for what he did.
Jada Aidun
Acquaintance
July 24, 2021
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Bruce and Corinne
July 18, 2021
Ses oeuvres sont magnifiques! Nous venons de perdre un grand artiste, heureusement, ses oeuvres demeurent.
Mes sympathies à tous ceux qu'il aimait et qui l'aimait.
Ginette
July 15, 2021
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Judy and Randy Mather
July 11, 2021
Doug and Lorraine Garland
Friend
July 9, 2021
It would be difficult to summarize in words in what seems like a lifetime of memories that keep flooding back. Rudy approached everything with such passion and enthusiasm. Rudy was an artist in every sense of the word. Ad such he saw the world differently than most people, marvelling at the simple things that nature and life had to offer. He brought shapes and shadows to life in his works. Being an artist also allowed him to be his own person. I will never forget all the dinner conversations ,backyard BBQs, and swims at Jill’s parents pool. I feel fortunate to have spent so many years with Jill and Rudy and to see Erin and Elliott grow and develop into two amazing individuals. For me and everyone who knew Rudy these and so many other memories will keep him present in our hearts forever.
Bruce Walker
Friend
July 8, 2021
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Your Salesforce Family
July 2, 2021
Our condolences to Rudy's family and friends. His passing is very sad. We had the opportunity to meet Rudy several times at extended family events. We enjoyed his spirit and love of life. We are regularly reminded of Rudy as we have one of his sculptures in our living room - commissioned by my father. It is a wonderful work of art. Rest in Peace.
Bill Bain & Glynis Carling
Acquaintance
June 30, 2021
My knowledge of Rudi was indirectly through Debby, his sister and another friend with a prior mutual workplace connection. It is unfortunate to have never met this wonderful man. Reading about his many interests, reveals what a multi-faceted person he was.
My sincerest sympathies for Rudy's family and friends.
Debby, do take care. ~S
Susan Straiton
Acquaintance
June 29, 2021
Rudy was very very cool. Rudy was always a fun member of our family and always relished the Cambozola (when it used to be really good... slightly runny) and a glass of fine wine at our family get togethers. He was a skilled and highly knowledgeable ocean kayaker (although he never did learn to roll) who custom designed his own sail for his kayak (a yellow Nimbus Puffin -- a true expedition kayak) to catch the wind and help him cover a lot more water mostly in Georgian Bay.

Georgian Bay was one of his main playgrounds where he scanned the shores for colourful red rocks for his budding career as a sculpture. Just engaged, we came across him camped near the North Channel. Beautiful day, big winds, and 10 ft rollers, he frantically guided us in with hand signals to a hidden safe landing that we would have otherwise missed. He keenly took our engagement photo with the keen eye of a brilliant visual artist.

It was fascinating to watch him grow as an artist which was a risky and gutsy career choice for someone starting a new family, but Rudy always followed his heart and passion in these matters. Rudy began his career with stone from the North Channel and made brilliant stone sculptures, which were not overly lucrative because of their high cost. They were very labour intensive and fewer people were willing to part with thousands of dollars (much more in today's dollars) at that time. It was a small market.

When his son Elliott was born, Rudy made him a beautiful mobile to put above his crib. My sister, admiring his work suggested that he should make and sell those. Wire is much easier to work with than stone, and that set off his career as a wire sculptor. He was incredibly meticulous, particularly with commissions, carefully rendering drawings of potential sculptures which were works of art in themselves. His sculptures continued to evolve with time becoming increasingly intricate and sophisticated.

When he moved East to Nova Scotia, he said that he was going to retire because financially he was set. I told him that that was too bad, because the world needed more of his art. It wasn't long before the art came pouring out of his mind and hands once again. He made the art that he wanted to make when he choose to do it . He was driven by the beauty of shapes and character both concrete and abstract. Like a great playwright, Rudy became an expert on every subject he rendered into wire.
He left the world more beautiful than when he entered it.
Well done Rudy. Life mission accomplished. :)
Anthony and Jane Peterson and family
Family
June 28, 2021
I met Rudy back in 2006 when I first attended the Muskoka Arts & Crafts show in Bracebridge. He was across from me, and I was mesmerized by his rock wire fish slowly swimming throught the breeze. I needed up buying one, and he hand delivered it to my home, and we've been friends since.
Many great conversations, and lots of laughs through the years.
A true artist, who followed his heart.
I consider myself very privileged to call him my friend.
Rest in peace Rudy!
Cam Lavers
Friend
June 28, 2021
We will always remember Rudy as being interested & respectful of others, a good listener, enthusiastic and such an inspired artist. A genuine & wonderful man. RIP.
Stephen and Pam
Friend
June 27, 2021
Good-bye, Rudy. You will be missed.
Kevin Roach
Friend
June 27, 2021
I was driving along the Lakeshore one day behind a car with one (maybe 2) kayaks on its roof. As we both slowed down for a red light I noticed the kayaks slowly sliding off the roof and heading in my direction. With good fortune they stopped just before my front bumper and out of the car came a very concerned man - Rudy. The look of relief on his face when he recognized me as a friend and neighbour left a lasting impression on me. We both laughed off the "near miss" and headed home to Evelyn Ave.
We have very fond memories of Rudy's passion and his kindness to our family. We send our deepest condolences to Jill, Elliott and Erin.
Julie, Adam, Jack, Emma and Lily
Julie, Adam, Jack, Emma and Lily
Neighbor
June 27, 2021
As neighbourhood friends, we watched Rudy and Jill raise their amazing children with love and patience. Rudy's kindness extended to our children and we remember his warmth, smile and thought provoking conversation at his studio or our backyard barbecues. Front yard frisbee, kayak ready to go and "One-of-a-kind" chats are all shared memories over the years. Our deepest condolences to Jill, Elliott and Erin and all who loved Rudy. You are in our thoughts. Helen, Behnaz and Jennifer
Helen, Behnaz and Jennifer
Friend
June 27, 2021
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Helen, Behnaz and Jennifer
June 27, 2021
Hard to say what can never be put into word .. an essence and an incredible presence that filled whatever space Rudy became of .. and in four very short years that space became wide and vast with no boundary between us .. our property lines merged and before we knew it, our homes were one and a new “east lahave” family was born.
Laughter, warmth, concern and care were the main ingredients that continuously filled the respectful exchange that we as deeply dear friends and neighbors so effortlessly brought to the table everyday.
To share all the pertinent moments and memories would be an impossible task as they were endless, even to the very end.
But the love and the bond that was birthed and cherished will indeed remain forever and continue for all of us ever graced to be part of this incredible human’s journey .. until we meet again ❤
Cathy
Friend
June 26, 2021
I didn’t know him personally. I was only a customer, but his booth was the highlight of the One of a Kind show for me, and l looked forward to seeing all his wonderful pieces- such a talent. Thank you for your incredible creations sir. Rest In Peace.
Deb Salmon
Acquaintance
June 26, 2021
We were blessed to know Rudy for almost 40 years. So many wonderful memories of a man full of passion, ideas, and determination to live a meaningful life. And then of course there’s the art – whatever “it” is, Rudy had it. We were fortunate to spend many wonderful summers together in Toronto watching our young families grow and having fun poolside on Islington. More recently, a visit to Rudy’s new home in NS was always an adventure. A neat row of small-to-large beach stones on the front porch railing served as a primitive anemometer (Rudy loved a good hurricane). His perfect Scandinavian-style wood piles are works of art. We’ll miss him greatly. Love and condolences to Elliott, Erin, Jill, and Debby
Ingrid Peterson and Keith Thompson
Family
June 26, 2021


My heartfelt condolences to Rudy’s family and his dearest friends. I met Rudy when he moved to East Lahave, N.S. a few years ago. He was not only a neighbor, but a dear friend that brought so much inspiration. He always made time for his friends and loved to share a glass of wine. His conversations always started with his love of his two children, Elliott and Erin, whom he talked about with so much joy and pride. Honestly, at times I thought he’d burst from the love he had for them. He also loved showing his beautiful artwork, telling a tale of how each piece came to life. And that it did. Rudy, you will be missed so very much. Your larger than life being on this earth has touched so many of us. I’m so grateful that you moved to our small community in NS so that we could know the beautiful person you were. Another beautiful angel is now in the skies. Sail on Rudy. Cheers my friend.
- [ ]
Julie
Friend
June 26, 2021
Rudy was my brother-in-law and a much loved addition to our family. Warm, fun, helpful, and interesting, he was a joy to be around. It was always a treat when he invited you into his studio to see his latest wire sculptures. You never knew what you would find, perhaps John Lennon playing his guitar, an owl swooping overhead, or a fish mobile that moved just like a swimming fish. So many memories, such as sitting on the front porch of his beautiful home in Nova Scotia, drinking a cold Dark ‘N’ Stormy, and watching the LaHave River. Thanks for being such a special person in my life Rudy.
Wendy Peterson
Family
June 26, 2021
When Rudy moved to NS and into the house next door, we gained a special neighbour and friend. We are missing him each day but are thankful for the priviledge we had of knowing him. Our deep condolences to his family.
Brian and Jean Johnston
Friend
June 26, 2021
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Erin and Thorsten
June 26, 2021
So very sad to read that Rudy has passed away. My husband and I are proud owners of a Don Quixote sculpture that we bought when we visited Rudy at his home in our neighbourhood. Such a lovely man as well as a talented artist. We will treasure our sculpture all the more, now.
Jane Canapini
Acquaintance
June 26, 2021
May the love of friends and family carry you through. Rudy was always the life of the party. He will be missed. God bless you in your time of grief.
Julie Senior
Neighbor
June 25, 2021
What a great man. Rudy and I did craft shows together and for many years I was his driver to and from the One Of A Kind Show. During those drives we discussed everything politics, religion, travel, history, music and most importantly our show sales. As an artist there were many times at the end of the day when we would reveal our totals and he would say he had a perfect day. This I quickly realized meant he had sold nothing. Sometimes this would go on for several days in a row, I would be shocked and tell him that things would change and he would say that it was o.k. because he had planted many seeds. Sure enough before the show ended the floodgates would open and he would end up having a great show. I will miss our talks and of course the laughter of which there was no end. My condolences to Jill, Elliott and Erin of whom he was so proud of. I shall miss you my friend .
Terry HUTCHINSON
Friend
June 25, 2021
I send my most heart-felt condolences to Jill—and to their two children—Erin and Elliot. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this most difficult time.

I first met Rudy in 2000 when he and I were exhibiting our art at the Axis Bar and Restaurant in the Junction. I was fortunate to have been invited to a couple of wonderful Christmas dinners with Rudy and his family.

Rudy was an exceptionally gifted artist—I loved to watch him in his studio on Evelyn Avenue—as he created so many wonderful works of art.

I'd spoken with him on numerous occasions over the past twenty-one years. I feel blessed that I was able to know him—and to call him my friend.




George Alexander Anthony
Friend
June 25, 2021
I've only known Rudy for the last few years but he'll be impossible to forget. I don't think I've ever met anyone with so much enthusiasm for everything (except committee work!) and his energy was infectious. A genuine loss for Canadian art and everyone here in NS.
Jennifer Harrison
Acquaintance
June 25, 2021
I have known Rudy for many years and always thought the world of him. We traveled together to LA and managed to laugh the whole time we spent together. Come to think of it, I don't recall ever not laughing when he was around. I'll miss that kind funny soul.
Beth Richardson
Friend
June 25, 2021
I skied with Rudy and hung out at some of his many shows that I participated in as well. He was always full of energy and ideas. Introduced me to kayaking in Georgian Bay . Only person I know who thought it was a good idea to follow bears when they came to your campsite. Such a pleasure to be with. So sad. Sending my condolences to Elliott and Erin and Deb and Jill.
juris kornets
Friend
June 25, 2021
Jill, we are saddened by Rudy’s passing and send our sincerest condolences to you, Elliott and Erin. Rudy will live on in our hearts as we continue to enjoy his amazing stone and wire sculptures in our home. He was truly one of a kind.
Sonia Canetti
Friend
June 25, 2021
Dear Jill & family. So sorry for the loss of such a great man. He truly was 'one of a kind'. A lot a wonderful memories of his cottage in Barrie, and our youthful antics. Rudy was also a great dancer. Heard Pink Floyd's 'The Wall' for the first time at Rudy's. He definitely 'wasn't another brick in the wall'. Goodnight, sweet prince,/And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.
Laurie Revell-Pollock
Friend
June 25, 2021
Rudy you will be missed but you will always be here ❤
Stacy
Friend
June 25, 2021
Jill, I am so sorry to hear this news. I have so many wonderful memories of times spent in Toronto, Barrie and trips to Killarney. Rudy was such a positive force. I am thinking of you and the family. Please accept my most sincere condolences.
Lesley Anderson
Friend
June 24, 2021
I enjoyed Rudy and his art. He was very welcoming and inspiring,when I first met him at The Bloor West Art Studio Tour in Toronto.
I was amazed to find his art at a gallery in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.
I miss his positive energy.
Charles Weiss
Friend
June 24, 2021
Condolences to the Family. I met Rudy on several occasions many years ago, and all I can say is Rudy was such a wonderful person. So sad for the Family
Donna Francescut
Friend
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