OPINION: Outpouring of Condolence in Wake of Passing of Ken Hill

Condolences from across North America have poured into the community of Six Nations at the news of the death of entrepreneur and philanthropist Ken Hill. He was a man that leaves behind a lasting impact on his community, family, and nation.

Jukasa Motor Speedways announced his passing and noted that Ken would often be on hand at events, speaking to guests and welcoming participants personally.

Grand River Enterprises, the company that he helped establish, noted his charitable efforts and reputation for giving back to the Six Nations community.

Jukasa Media Group called Ken a visionary. “Kenny was always excited to meet new artists and was delighted to come into the studio and listen to what was being created. He had an undeniable presence that was felt from the moment he walked into a room. That presence will be sadly missed.”

Ken was an avid supporter of the Two Row Times. As journalists, we are all too often hear critical feedback when folks don’t like our coverage of an issue. It’s an industry thing. But Ken was different. He read the paper every week and would send messages of support to our staff and writers for no reason in particular other than to offer encouragement and support. He’d stop us in the street to just chat about what was going on in the news and always encouraging us to keep going. We are devastated at the news of his passing. This has been an incredibly difficult work week and a hard finish to put this paper together this week. A lot of tears have been shed. But we remember Ken’s words of encouragement and press on.

In an interview with TRT publisher Jonathan Garlow in 2019, Hill shared the story of his humble upbringing at Beaver’s Corner on Six Nations. Hill told the story of being one of a family of 14 living in a small home. Ken shared precious tales with us of his late mother, hauling water from the swamp and up to the house to wash clothes for the family. Ken remained in that home for the duration of his life, eventually turning the family homestead at Beaver’s Corner into a mansion with surrounding businesses and the kind of community infrastructure that will last for generations.

He was known for his wealth, but he was greater known for his support and generosity.

In the early Christian tradition, there are four different types of love described. Agape, is the word the Greek translators used to describe love in the form of charity.

Agape love is the love that is unconcerned with self but looks at the greater good. Agape is the kind of love that doesn’t come as a response — it just comes from the heart as an act of human will and a choice. The true desire of faithfulness to others, and sacrifice, without expecting anything in return.

It is the true form of love. It is top-down love in the way that the Creator provides for his creation. It is an empathetic, lovingkindness for all people.

Agape love is a treasure that can be passed from person to person in this world. A treasure that doesn’t tarnish or lose its value. It is in those kind gestures of unwarranted compliment, putting someone at ease when there is distress in the community, and assurance that you are accepted, included, welcomed, and embraced — just the way you are.

This was the experience that so many had with Ken. And this is how he will be remembered. A man who always had the community in his mind and in his heart. Someone who remained in his childhood home. A man who was a proud Mohawk stood up for his rights and stood behind members of the community as they rejected being subjugated by Canadian standards.

“Kenny was truly one of a kind. He made a powerful impact on his community, inspired so many people around him, and will forever be remembered by those who were lucky enough to know him. We are grateful for the opportunities he has given us and will continue his legacy he so passionately built.”

Ed note: This story has been corrected. A previous version of this editorial incorrectly wrote that Ken Hill was a co-owner of Jukasa Motor Speedway.

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