Kenneth Sveinson

May 20, 1931 – May 21, 2022
We have lost the best of us. The most humble, genuine, fun-loving and kind man the world has known. Kenneth Maynard Sveinson passed away with his wife, Marie by his side on Saturday, May 21, 2022, just a day after his 91st birthday. Our lives have been shaped for the better by his example.
Ken showed us what community means. He loved Markerville – the community where he was born and lived his life – always lending a hand when needed.
He led the Tindastoll 4-H Club, volunteered on the Raven Feeders Association, and had turns as president of the Tindastoll Cemetery, the MarkervilleLutheran Church, and the Markerville (Fensala) Hall Board. He became President of the Hall Board when Markerville old-timer and past president, Carl Morkeberg called Ken and said “We’ve had a meeting, and you’re the new president of the hall!”
Ken headed up the Fensala Hall expansion project, and later, the Restoration Committee to restore the original part of the hall as an historic building. He was an elder at the Markerville Church and then at the Sylvan Lake Presbyterian Church. He has been a member and volunteer of the Stephan G. Stephansson Icelandic Society since its inception.
This was all on top of working long hours in the fields, and when Ken was finished taking his crop off in the fall, it was not uncommon to see him heading over to the neighbours to help get theirs off too.
Over twenty-five years ago, friends in Markerville started meeting at the Creamery for coffee every morning at 10:00 a.m. Since then, it was a rare morning that Ken was not in Markerville at 10:00 a.m., having a laugh with neighbours.
Kenneth, called “Kenny” in his younger years (and for his whole life by some!) was born on May 20, 1931, with his twin brother, Keith, to Waldie and Violet Sveinson. He and Keith, and their older brother, Allen were tight, staying close throughout their lives.
They grew up on a farm along the Medicine River, with their closest neighbours being their cousins, Norman and Ralph Sveinson, also twins. Was there something in the water?
These boys had a happy childhood, fishing, hunting, playing together and working hard on the farm. They walked to school in Markerville until Grade 10. Ken and Keith then stayed in the dorms at the Composite High School in Red Deer for Grades 11 and 12, as did many young people at that time.
The family always joked that “Ken went to school with everyone” because no matter where we went (Calgary, Hawaii, etc.) he ran into someone that he “went to school with!” He made some of his best life-long friends there and enjoyed years of fun, reunions and get-togethers with them and their families.
Ken listened to his father and uncles speak Icelandic in the fields and could pull off a good Icelandic “accent,’ knew a few words and made up a few more (because really, how would we know?), but English was spoken in the home with his mother being English.
Ken married his sweetheart, Marie Johannson, on July 4, 1959. She also grew up on a Markerville farm with an Icelandic father and English mother, and their families were friends. They built a house, a farmand a life on what is now Range Road 15, south of Markerville, farming alongside Ken’s parents.
They had a son, Daniel Kenneth in 1961 and a daughter, Deborah Kay in 1962. Dan and his wife Denise also farmed with Ken and Marie for a number of years. Ken and Marie carried that tight-knit family feeling to their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, all who either grew up near Markerville or got to know and love Markerville through staying with “Mama and Boppa” at the farm.
Ken was a “glass-half-full” kind of guy; optimistic, seeing the good in everyone and appreciating all that he had. When Deb was sitting with him in hospice just weeks ago, watching pictures on a screen they had given him, he perked up when he saw a picture of their wedding party come up.
Deb said “you had a sunny day that day,” to which Ken, who could hardly speak by then, whispered, “We had a lot of sunny days.”
Ken loved sports and played on the Markerville baseball team, followed by Innisfail. He learned to play hockey on the Medicine River with his brothers and cousins, and played for teams in Markerville and Innisfail, including the Innisfail Eagles and the Golden Eagles. He curled in Markerville, and always had a team in the Red Deer Farmer’s Bonspiel with is brothers-in-law, Bill Johannson and Art McAllister. Ken coached or assisted with his son, Dan’s hockey teams for years and is remembered as “one of the best” by all those guys.
Throughout his life Ken sang and played piano and banjo. His kids remember going to sleep to jam sessions in our living room, with piano, fiddle, banjo, guitar and beautiful 4-part harmony voices. He sang with the Jolly Corks in Red Deer, with the Rae-Mar Singers and in the choir at the Sylvan Lake Presbyterian Church.
He and his twin brother, Keith sang a beautiful rendition of “Blue Shadows on the Trail” that we heard at many gatherings.
He will be greatly missed by his wife, Marie, his son, Dan (Denise), his daughter, Deb (Mike), his grandchildren, Landon (Aida), Joel (Suzie), Denae (Rick), Jess and Jordan, his great grandchildren,Skyler, Summer, Layla, Madison and Ethan, and his granddaughter-by-choice Mary Ann.
He will also be sadly missed by his brother-in-law, Art, his sisters-in-law, Norma and Lorna, and many nieces and nephews. He was a second Dad and a Grampa to so many others, and his cousins still fight over which one was his “favorite cousin!”
What we will remember most is his sense of humor, that great big smile, and how he brought laughter to us all.
If we can each take away something from watching how he lived his life, we’ll all be a bit more humble, genuine, fun-loving, comforting and kind, and the world will be a better place.
A private service for family will be held at the Markerville Church on Sunday, June 5, 2022 at 1:30, followed by a memorial gathering at the Markerville Fensala Hall for friends and family, at approximately 2:45. Please park at the picnic grounds. The family will gather at the Tindastoll Cemetery at 5:30 for the interment.
If desired, Memorial Donations in Ken’s honor may be made directly to either the Stephan G. Stephansson Icelandic Society at www.stephanssonhouse.ca or the Parkinson’s Association of Alberta at www.parkinsonassociation.ca.
Condolences, memories and photos may be shared and viewed at www.heartlandfuneralservices.com
Arrangements in care of:
Heartland Funeral Services Ltd.
4415 – 49 Street
Innisfail, Alberta
Phone: 403.227.0006 Fax: 403.227.6437
Heartland Funeral Services Ltd.

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