May 21, 1936 – July 17, 2021
Brigadier General retired, Keith (KO) Simonson died Sat. July 17th, peacefully, at his home in Courtenay, surrounded by his wife of 56 years, Barbara, his 3 sons Michael, Mark (Kristina), Stephan (Trina), his sister-in-law Vicki (John), and her 2 daughters Karen (Eric) and Jennifer (Bill).
He was born in Langham Saskatchewan on May 21st 1936, on a homestead to parents Gudrun and Pauline who moved to Canada from Norway at the age of 9, and Sydney Simonson. He is survived by his sister Bernice, his grandchildren Sydney, Thomas, Tiana, Owen and Arheanna as well a 2 step-granddaughters Mia and Kenzye, his sister’s children Rob (Sue), Rick (Carol), and Joanna (David), sister-in-law Rosalyn, and her children Carey, Greg, Geoffrey and Kathy, his nieces and nephews Rachel and Tyler, and Emily and Alexander.
He was predeceased by his parents and younger brother Gordon.
Following those early years on the farm they moved to Pioneer Gold Mine in the Bridge River Valley in BC, now ghost town. At the age of 18, he joined the RCAF as a pilot where he proudly served his country from 1954 to 1992, a career consisting of many enjoyable postings: from the EWU, the All Weather Fighter Group, and others during the Cold War where they seemed to spend their lives on standby, to RAF Old Sarum, where he was the only non British Service person to serve as PMC of their Officer’s Mess, the Army Command and Staff College in Kingston ON, then on to more prestigious postings, commander of 424 Search and Rescue Squadron, Trenton ON, Station Commander of a radar site in Gypsumville MB, Base Commander Canadian Forces Station, Trenton ON, Canada’s largest airbase, Deputy Commander of the Canadian contingent in the Middle East with the United Nations, Air Transport Group Commander at the RCAF Base Trenton ON.
He was a kind, loving and supporting husband and wonderful father. He was known for his incredibly strong work ethic, and his care and concern for the people working for him. He seldom talked of his own accomplishments, only those of others. He has developed many strong friendships over the years that continue to this day.
He had many interests in life, including golfing, motorcycles, in which he enjoyed being part of a “motorcycle gang” once he retired in Courtenay, woodworking and renovations and support of his wife in her fundraising efforts on behalf of hospice as well as care of others in the community. He will be missed by many but will remain forever in our hearts.
A celebration of Keith’s life will take place at St Michael and All Angels Protestant Chapel at CFB Comox on Saturday August 14th, 2021 at 1 pm, followed by reception at 888 Wing Comox.
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