| Aug 07, 2008

Feature Article - August 7, 2008

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Feature Article - July 31, 2008 Ken and Vera Stinson celebrate their lives and legacyBy Julie Druker

There was a large gathering this past weekend at Brown’s Lakeview Cottages and Campground in Bedford District to celebrate the 90th and 92nd birthdays of Ken and Vera Stinson.

I had a chance to meet the couple before the party and they were looking forward to the upcoming event that “family and friends and everyone in the entire camp will be invited to”.

They were anticipating anywhere from 150-200 guests and were planning a potluck to be held in “the Gathering Pit”, a large wooden pavilion at the campground that was built by close friends from Texas.

Married for 69 years, and with a large extended family including 13 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren, the couple have lived in the area since both were born. Ken worked at Alcan in Kingston for years until he left to serve in WWll. Vera stayed at home to raise their 7 children.

The couple now lives permanently at their home here at the campground, which it turns out, came into existence quite by accident.

Back in 1967, Ken and Vera were looking for a cottage property to purchase. Vera explains, “I wanted a place where I could retire and for the kids to come and stay. Well, the retiring part never ended up happening.”

Ken remembers the story well. “Vera was looking for a family cottage on Mud Bay and got turned around on the road and ended up in here and saw a for sale sign”.

They loved the place and thought it would suit their needs as a family cottage. They bought it, only to realize soon after that they had purchased what had been “The Lakeview Lodge”, a popular destination for vacationing Americans.

The following fall, at a family gathering, some Americans showed up wondering what had happened to the Lakeview Lodge, a fishing lodge they had frequented years earlier.

Vera explains, “These Americans that came talked us into it. They said that if we re-opened it, they would send us all the people they could send us. And they did.”

Ken and Vera ran the lodge for 20 years until 1987, when their daughter Donna Brown and her husband Earl took it over. The Browns then built a beautiful home for Ken and Vera up on a hill overlooking Crow Lake.

Ken and Vera have come to love this place and can’t imagine being anywhere else. “It’s a busy place but very peaceful and many of the campers have been coming for so long that they have become part of the family.”

Both avid gardeners, Ken still manages to supply most of the campers with fresh produce from his garden. And Vera keeps the flower gardens in top notch shape.

Ken does a daily “gut run” on his 4 wheeler, delivering the daily fish remains out into the woods, for which his son-in-law Earl has nick-named him “the gut man”.

Their secrets to longevity? Ken and Vera themselves claim to possess no secret. Son-in-law Earl believes it is their active lives and the fresh vegetables they eat from their own garden that have kept them so vibrant. “And fish when we can catch them”, adds Vera.

Their secret to a lasting marriage? Ken answers, “ ”We’ve had our ups and downs but we have always managed to work them out, just like everybody else I guess.”

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