This wonderful man died 30 March 2010 at age 85, surrounded by his loving family. He had been injured in a car accident and never regained consciousness.
Born in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Ken studied medicine at the University of Alberta and McGill. After completing his postgraduate residency training in obstetrics and gynecology at Cornell in New York, Ken moved back to Vancouver in 1955, establishing a successful practice of obstetrics and gynecology with Dr Bill Bie, and later Drs Claude Cronhelm and Gary Romalis.
He was the perfect obstetrician who never let the clock influence his obstetric decisions. He was widely respected by his peers for his gentle, meticulous surgical skills in radical pelvic surgery, pelvic floor reconstruction, fistula surgery, and infertility microsurgery. His colleagues often referred their most surgically challenging patients as well as their own family members to him.
Over the years Ken served various leadership roles at VGH, the BCMA Section of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Pacific Northwest Obstetrical & Gynecological Association. Patients, students, and hospital staff alike loved him for his kind and gentle manner.
He received many teaching awards as a clinical professor at UBC and was prized as a teacher of obstetrical and gynecological surgery. He was humble about his skills, and was a role model to younger generations because of his unhurried manner, utmost discretion, and respect for his patients. In 2004, Ken was awarded the CMA Senior Member (now known as Honorary Member) Award.
Always a gentleman, Ken had a smile for everyone and was known for his integrity, patience, wit, and childlike curiosity. He was a lifelong learner. Being an avid outdoorsman, he loved to fish, golf, garden, hike, and, especially, ski. He felt most at home in the mountains.
When he “semi-retired” in 1994, Ken and Shirley moved to Whistler, where Ken continued to provide culposcopy and consultations on a part-time basis in his new community, and they both became active community members.
Recently Ken was recognized with a lifetime achievement award for volunteering 40 years on the slopes of Whistler Mountain, and a ski run, Ken’s Kut, was named in his honor.
Ken is survived by his devoted wife, Shirley, his son Bill Nickerson (Lisa Nelson), his daughters Cathy Harvey (John), Anne Nickerson (Larry Jackie), Lisa Kirk (Dan), Kendra Nickerson (Paul Inzani), and his 10 grandchildren.
—Garson Romalis, MD