Thursday, August 31, 2023

Ken Wilson

Corrie Vaus, a professional videographer and producer reached out to me yesterday in an email to request permission to use an interview of Ken Wilson I posted on my YouTube channel, informing me that Ken had passed away.

He passed away earlier this summer in June.

The news left me deeply saddened. I had no idea.

In February 2017 I was very fortunate to participate in an Oyster Tour, a Vespa tour ranging from Tampa Florida to the town of Apalachicola in the Florida Panhandle, so named by Ken Wilson and Bill Leuthold in honour of an iconic little oyster bar on the Gulf coast.

I now know that Ken succumbed to a very aggressive cancer that manifested as significant back pain in January of this year, claiming his life in June.

Bill dedicated his participation in this year's cross-continental Cannonball scooter rally in Ken's honour. Corrie Vaus' husband was also participating, and Corrie went along to record the event including its dedication to Ken.

I very much look forward to seeing the film. 

Ken Wilson was a remarkable individual. He was outgoing, inquisitive, adventurous, genuinely kind and welcoming. He had recently bought a Vespa 300 GTS that he lent me so I could ride with him, Bill and Jim Mandle on the Oyster Tour. I learned from Corrie that Ken left that Vespa to Bill, and that Bill rode it on the CannonBall Run.

As I rode my Brompton on yesterday's weekday ride, I found the flag at half-mast.

It was as if the familiar landscape of my morning ride sensed and was manifesting the grief I felt.

I can do no better than to repost my interview with Ken following that Oyster Tour, recorded in Ken's driveway in St-Petersburg. Ken gets the last word. 

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The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.