Remembering Kenn Grainger

The Pathway of Fame, Peterborough & District is saddened to share the passing of Past Chair and Pathway Inductee (2005) Kenn Grainger, who died January 18th, 2022 in his 95th year.

Anyone who knew Kenn, knew him to be proud, caring, compassionate, dedicated, genuine, generous and ultimately charming. His, was a life brimming with volunteerism and possibility. To the latter, most will remember his more recent exploits that saw the legally blind senior  make an assisted jump from an airplane and later, managing to get up on water skiis – all the while raising funds and awareness that retired individuals need not be merely ‘retiring’ in their attitude towards life.

Few will forget his 90th birthday party at Fairhaven, which saw Mr. Grainger, ever-dapper in tux and Florsheims, charming his guests from across the community at a gathering not to be missed – and he outlasted everyone.

Mr. Grainger was also a dedicated volunteer with the Pathway of Fame – a past Chair of the Facilitating Committee, and more recently taking on the responsibility of sales for the annual Pathway publication, ‘Footprints of Life.’ No one, it seems, was capable of saying ‘no’ to Kenn Grainger.

A dedicated friend to the community, various health challenges including the gradual loss of his eyesight did little more than slightly alter his stride. He would prove to find ways to strive forward, proving an inspiration to all through his charm, his wit, his commitment and his humanity.

His profile from 2005 on The Pathway of Fame website sums up the flavor, and the tenor of a man so many of us loved, and called a valued friend. He will be missed.

“The essence of a good community Samaritan lies in translating your love of community into action, and deed. Words are easy, actions aren’t always so. Kenn Grainger is a shining example of the best community Samaritanism. In spite of growing personal limitations, Kenn seemed to find the secret to a life of vitality by giving of himself, to making the lives of others better.

Over 50 years ago, Kenn began an ongoing involvement with the ‘Elmer The Safety Elephant’ program in area elementary schools. His affection for young people carried over into a longtime association with youth hockey and baseball and a 38-year relationship with the Peterborough Figure Skating Club.

Increasing vision difficulties spurred Kenn to involvement with the CNIB and the Kiwanis Club. Of course there’s his ongoing volunteer work with United Way, Hospital Foundation, YMCA, Kinsmen Club and K-40 Club. In recognition of his community service, Kenn was presented with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and an Ontario Ministry of Education award. Both awards recognized his work with school children.

Although legally blind, Kenn raised money and scratched a few activities from his bucket list at the same time by doing an assisted jump from a plane, and water skiing.

When it comes to love of one’s community, Kenn Grainger has certainly ‘talked the good talk.’ But unlike so many others, he has backed those words with a lifetime of action.”

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