Sky was born July 13, 1957 to excited young parents Kenneth Ray and Kay Williamson. Doting Aunt Gay Kimmel, grandparents Daddy B and Mama B (Weldon and Dotty Birdsall) were thrilled.
The young family lived in Snyder, Texas; Carlsbad, New Mexico; and Alamogordo, New Mexico following dad’s work. They finally settled in Amarillo, Texas where Sky’s reign was interrupted by the arrival of sister, Kelly, just months before he started kindergarten. Youngest sister, Valarie, arrived 20 months later. The family then moved to Lubbock, Texas where Kenneth Ray passed away.
When Sky was 8, the family moved to Pagosa Springs, Colorado, where they built a huge log home on 365 acres: Shenandoah. He helped his Mama B haul rocks from the river to build a beautiful rock fireplace. Sky loved his German shepherd, Casey, riding his horse and working around the ranch. He cherished summer visits from his cousins, Kirk and Kris Kimmel. The family rode their horses in parades and enjoyed rodeos. When he was 10, Sky and Kelly were riding down the street on their tandem bike and almost ran over John Wayne, who was filming in the area.
When Sky was 13, his mother remarried and the family started on the great adventure of moving to Canada. The entourage included three kids, two horses, a German Shepherd, a mother cat and five baby kittens. The family settled in Burns Lake where Sky met best friend, Greg Chamberlain. The family went on to find ideal property in Topley where they moved and were able to continue riding horses, raising cows, and breeding St. Bernard dogs. Sky continued his education; lived it up on a school trip to Paris, France; and graduated from Burns Lake Secondary School in 1975.
Sky went on to obtain his teaching degree at the University of Victoria. He taught in Burns Lake and Houston before realizing his affinity and desire to work with special needs children and adults. He met Annie Krogstad during these years and married her in 1989 in a lovely ceremony in Sechelt, B.C. They lived in North Vancouver where Sky worked with handicapped adults and managed Cates Park. Sky relished visits from his sister, Val, brother-in-law, Chris, niece, Sydney, and nephew, Jordan who lived nearby in Squamish, B.C. and less often visits from his Mom and sister, Kelly, brother-in-law, Garth and nephews, Spenser, Ryan, and Owen who lived in Telkwa. The couple were married for five years before they went their separate ways.
Sky continued living and working in North Vancouver until 2001, when he moved to Telkwa and went to work at Smithers Secondary School in the special ed department.
Sky spent a lot of time with his nephews and niece. He created many good memories for them, reading to them, playing video games, rafting down the river, taking them on “Survivor” challenges or challenging them in a paint ball war. He always made Christmas special with a new challenge or contest.
Sky also loved his students and truly appreciated each child. He delighted in helping them improve their skills, whether it was reading or arithmetic or various life skills. He enjoyed working on craft projects with the students which funded a class trip each year, highlights including the Queen Charlotte Islands and Disneyland. Sky also loved to read. The school library was a favorite place to spend his lunchtime where he savoured many a book, as well as teaching kids to play chess.
Family was important to Sky. He always treasured family reunions, Christmas gatherings and Sunday family dinners.
In the summers, Sky and his mom, Kay Bennett, could often be seen riding their recumbent bikes from Telkwa to Smithers. He enjoyed the aquafit classes at the pool and really looked forward to the discussions and conversations with other members during the workout. He always had an interesting tidbit to share with the gals in the evening class.
Sky was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008. Doctors chose not to treat at that time and Sky refused to advertise the disease and continued working. In late 2011, he was forced to quit when he began chemotherapy. Radiation treatments followed in 2012. He continued to enjoy going to the pool until the spring of 2014 when it just became too hard for him to get around. Sky slowly declined over the spring and summer but he always enjoyed the visits from Doug Dyck, Pastor Dwayne, and Sharon DeVries. He looked forward to the books sent out from the library by Vicki Alton as well as books from the personal library of Lori and Randy Booth. He appreciated the cards and well wishes from the various “pool” gangs, visits from his nephews and niece, and calls from his cousins in Texas and his buddy, Greg. Sky always enjoyed chatting up the homecare workers who took special care of him and he appreciated all that Dr. Bastian and the palliative care nurses did for him.
We were especially blessed to have Sky in our lives and Mom, Val and I would like to thank each of you for being a part of Sky’s story. Thank you. Kelly.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the BV Healthcare and Hospital Foundation and put a note on the cheque that it is for palliative care. They have an account for different areas and they dispense funds for projects or equipment.
The mailing address is: B V Healthcare and Hospital Foundation, Box 551, Smithers, B.C., V0J 2N0; Or donations can be brought to the hospital admin assistant, Shelley Becker who will take care of it. Thank you.
A private family service will be held at a later date.
R.A. Schrader Funeral Services