In Memory of Major (RCAF) Kenneth James Rodzinyak
17 June 1961 – 25 November 2021
Kenneth J. Rodzinyak passed away suddenly, surrounded by loved ones, at the Ottawa Heart Institute on Thursday, November 25, 2021, at the age of 60.
Kenn is survived by Angela, his best friend and wife of 37 years, his precious daughters Kristyn, Daphne and Celina, his siblings Peggy, Bob (Esther), Tim (Ronalda), Janet (Tim), Dori, and Zan (Scott) and his brothers-in-law Karl (Jenny), Roland (Elaine), and Lothar. Kenn also leaves behind many nieces (11), nephews (6), grand nieces and nephews (20), cousins, and friends. He is predeceased by his parents, George and Muriel Rodzinyak, and his in-laws, Albert and Elsa Schmidt.
Kenn was born in Lethbridge, Alberta. He spent his early years playing sports, exploring the coulees, and running around being mischievous with his six siblings and many friends. He showed leadership qualities at a young age as captain of several of his sports teams and as president of the student council at Catholic Central High School (CCHS). He joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1979 and graduated with Honours from the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) in 1983. A year later, he married his beloved wife, Angela, began his career, and started his family.
During his 35+ year career with the Canadian Armed Forces, Kenn accumulated nearly 4,000 flight hours as a maritime navigator, had the privilege of commanding at the crew, flight and unit level, completed operational and instructional flying tours on the east and west coasts of Canada, served out-of-country in Germany and the United States, and completed several staff tours. He was sponsored for post-graduate education at RMC (Master’s degree in War Studies (Space Law and Policy)) and the International Space University in Strasbourg, France. These educational experiences proved to be a turning point in his life and career, taking him down the path as a space operator and a member of the burgeoning Royal Canadian Air Force Space Cadre. He brought his passion for space into all aspects of his life, including waking his family up in the middle of the night to share different wonders of the night sky. He retired from the Regular Force on May 1, 2014, but continued to work as a reservist and ultimately became the Director Space Strategic Plans Force Generation Officer for the Director General Space.
Kenn’s energy and love for life were contagious. He found joy in all he did from going on walks and travelling to curling and playing pickleball, his most recent sport endeavors. Equally important to his sports and academic interests were his many creative outlets including yoga, dance, beekeeping, theatre, cooking, pottery, juggling, games and piano.
Kenn was devoted to his family and found pride in supporting his wife and daughters in their own pursuits and adventures. He often found very normal, but profound ways of bringing out the best in each person and situation. A voracious storyteller, it wasn’t unusual for his audience to be in tears of laughter by the end of a shared memory. Kenn never wasted a single moment of the time he was given on earth. He was full of energy and curiosity; everyday was an adventure to him. There was always something new to discover and some fun to be had.
Kenn’s impact on the lives of everyone who knew him cannot be put into words. His large personality, great love of family and friends, generosity and kindness were truly remarkable. Kenn was a vibrant person who was there for everyone in whatever they needed, be it first aid for the mind, body, heart, or soul.
Memorial services will be held in Ottawa, Ontario and Lethbridge, Alberta. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a charity of your choice.
Visitation: Friday, December 3 from 18:00 to 21:00 at the Heritage Funeral Complex, 1250 Trim Road.
Funeral service: Saturday, December 4 at 13:00 at the Good Shepherd Parish, 3092 Innes Road and can be virtually streamed by following this link:
Reception to follow: Saturday, December 4 from 14:30 to 17:00 at the Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess at 4 Queen Elizabeth Driveway
Date and location to be determined.
Kenn, you lived your life with conviction and loved with all your strength.
Thats why I remember our time together so well.
Even though we only briefly crossed paths after Comox, you were a great friend and I cherish our shared memories.
Angela, My genuine sorrow.
Ang – we were so sorry to hear of Kenn’s passing. Our thoughts are with you and the girls.
Stephanie (Quint) Machielse and family
I loved Kenna smile- definitely seemed to hint of mischief! I also laugh at memories of him juggling and in the high school hallway with the “wall gang” I often fell for their trick of looking at a spot on the floor. I am also lucky we had a chance to visit when you lived in Kamloops. Tom was playing baseball.
I am glad to call him cousin! Always an inspiration & support. Love you & miss you.
Kenn, thank you for the great memories. Thank you for threating like one of your family. 3 years of living with your family was a beautiful memory I will ever cherish. The laughters and joys Shared was priceless. You are a very kind, humble person and amazing person.
Angela, Christine, Daphnie and Celina,
Angela und Family
Auer thoughts are with you at this very difficult time,
and we extend our deepest sympathy to you and the family
Tante Erika und Onkel Hermann
Angela and Family – Please accept my sincere and deepest condolences. May you find peace, comfort, courage and strength during this most difficult time by holding onto all the wonderful memories you have of Kenn close in your heart.
Angie and family,
sorry to hear of Kenn’s passing. You were great neightbours on Kingswood Place just after you were married, and it sounds like Kenn continued to share his love of life with everyone. Deepest condolences on your loss.
We met Kenn years ago on the pickleball court with Angela. While he was playing or not there was always a big smile on his face and always a kind word to say. It was a pleasure teaching him pickleball because he was a great listener and he always tried his very best. We are extremely grateful to have known Kenn and wish Angela & family our deepest condolences. Rest In Peace our dear friend. Chris & Karen
We are thankful and honored to have had the opportunity to get to know Kenn when he came out west to see his daughters 2 summers ago. He was a wonderful man who who clearly loves his family with all his heart. He had a wonderful sense of humor and we only wish we could have spent more time together with them as a family. Much love and embracing hugs to the family.
It is with really heavy hearts that my wife, Toni, and I have just read about the death of Kenn. We were fortunate to have met, played, studied and worked alongside both Kenn and Kristyn during their times at the International Space University. Kenn was always the “Everyready Bunny”, willing to take on and, if necessary, lead any challenge that the participants of the program were facing and always with a big smile and boundless enthusiasm. Given that he was a participant in a class of approximately 100 from more than 30 countries, he also was a classic Canadian, helping those from different cultures and backgrounds and recognizing participants who were perhaps struggling with language or understanding and making sure that they knew that they had a friend who always could be called upon to assist, all with a quiet and confident approach and demeanour. Our thoughts, condolences and best wishes go out to the family and close friends who we are certain are devastated by this untimely and tragic event.
I met Kenn on the pickleball courts a couple of years ago. He was a great guy with a sense of humor and it was a pleasure playing with him. I am so sorry for your loss Angela, my thoughts arr with you and your daughters during this difficult time. Rest In Peace Kenn🙏
I was quite saddened to hear about his passing through mutual colleagues. I have known Kenn for many years through work. He always had a nice word or a smile for those around him, boundless energy and enthusiasm for everything he undertook, and always professional in his dealings with others. I remember traveling with him while pregnant and food being a bit of an issue for me at that time. Kenn kept a close eye on me (what I would describe as brotherly affection), ensuring the choice of restaurant would be ‘ok’ and that I was eating properly, providing a helping hand to ensure I wouldn’t fall, offering to carry my luggage, and so on. He is what I would describe as the eternal gentleman.
My sincere condolences and thoughts go out to Kenn’s family and friends.
So very very sorry to hear about Kenn. He was a pretty amazing man. He will truly be missed by many.
Kenn was a regular at my early morning Yoga classes. I always looked forward to seeing him. He was one of the most positive people I’ve ever met. He always had a smile even at our 6 am classes. He would share with me stories about his beloved daughters when they were visiting or he was going out. You could tell how much he absolutely adored them. Most days I saw Kenn he was with Angela, I thought how cool it was that they worked out together, you could see the friendship and the love they had for one another in their interactions with each other. I was shocked to learn the awful news. I will dearly miss seeing him, his beautiful smile and his positive energy in my classes. My thoughts are with his family.
Michelle and I would like to express our sincere and heart-felt condolances to the family and friends of our dearly departed friend, Royal Military College 1983 classmate and RCAF Space colleague 13934 Major Kenneth Rodzinyak. He brought joy and smiles to our lives on each encounter and he will be remembered as a caring and thoughtful human being. May his onward travels be peaceful and as boundless as his enthusiam for life that he shared with us every day. He left us too soon….
My deepest and most profund condolences to Angela and family.
I first met Kenn in the Missile Warning Center located in the Cheyenne Mountain Complex at Colorado Springs. We maintained contact upon our return back to Ottawa. From day one, Kenn’s effervescent and gregarious personality made it a joy to be around him. Being in Kenn’s company made it seem as though anything was possible!
With the passing of Kenn we’ve all lost a great, kind human who touched us all in his own special way.
We first met Kenn and Angie over 30 years ago in Greenwood, NS. However, it was only the past 10 years, or so, that we had the great pleasure to see them both on a regular basis.
We enjoyed their company at many Mess functions including swing dance lessons that we took with them there. They were also enthusiastic partiers at our annual corn boil. They were more than keen to participate in any themed costuming we threw their way. They were a hoot!
Kenn was interested in many things including bees. He kept two beehives on our property. Quite often, I would look out and there he would be with Angie or Kristyn busy tending his bees. He would always show up with some offering of his culinary skill…sorbet, apple sauce, kombucha and of course, honey. I so loved to shoot the breeze with him on these occasions. He was always so informed about absolutely everything.
This past summer, Kenn introduced us to pickkleball, taking us under his wing and kindly coaching us on the game’s rules and strategy. In this respect, we saw him most every morning at 6:30 am on the court. Kenn was always so gracious with his expert pickleball tips and adamant that we were not to be overly competitive. We were playing for fun! Kenn was there every morning except when he coached English (online) to a Japanese boy. Wow!
Kenn got so much out of life and in return, gave so very much to all of us. He really is the model of how we all should approach life. We are so very fortunate to have been in his orbit. We are so honoured to call him our friend.
I would like to offer my deepest condolences to Angela and family. Ken was a classmate of mine (RMC Class of 1983) and a friend. I was very fortunate to have met Ken and serve as Reservist with him at RCAF HQ til recently. Although not working in the same department, it was always a great pleasure for me to cross path with Ken and chat with him and share laughters. Ken will be missed dearly by everyone. Rest in peace bud!
Angela and family,
We are so sorry for your loss. We send you our profound condolences.
We had the pleasure to know Kenn for the past ten years as a great neighbor. It was always a pleasure to chat with him. We will always remember his love for walking, cycling and pickleball. May he Rest In Peace.
Much love to you and your daughters.
Mélanie and Alain
Condolences to Angela ,the girls
and all the family members
. I remember Kenn in his younger earlier life fondly…. Always Happy Smiling &Kind
Reading about his life Is “So absolutely amazing”… Proud of you Kenn!!
A Life Well Lived ! 🥰
We knew Kenn in the 80s as our next door neighbour in Comox BC and quickly became friends. Spike was on 407 Sqn with Kenn and fondly remembers bike rides in to work, hiking the West Coast Trail with Kenn and a visit in Baden Germany. We have fond memories of Kenn, always telling stories, or juggling tomatoes with his mouth, and his unique laugh. Though we never saw Kenn and Angie much after we left Comox, we were fortunate to have Kenn visit us this past June. Kenn was one of those great people you could immediately feel comfortable with and pick up were you left off despite not having seen each other for years. Kenn made the world a richer place and he was a great man. We miss him and are in shock from his sudden passing.
Our thoughts and love are with Angie, Krystin, Daphne and Celina at this difficult time.
I met Ken, Angela and Kristyn playing Pickleball at Francois Dupuis Rec Center probably in 2018. I was new to the game and he was always so encouraging and never critical. He loved to laugh at the missed shots as much as cheer for the good ones. With the COVID shut downs I was thrilled to be asked to join his family playing outdoors. That group of dedicated fun loving players grew to probably over 25 or 30. Early mornings almost every day playing with Ken and everyone saved me from the stress of restrictions. I will miss him dearly, his smile, his laugh and his energy on the court. My love and sincere sympathy to his family.
I wanted to add that my comments were from Julie and I.
I worked with Kenn in Ottawa as few years ago at DG Space. What a wonderful colleague and friend. He will be missed. To his family and friends, please accept my deepest sympathies for your loss.
Kenn, what a wonderful man and a great soul. If you meet him once, you have a very positive impression that will last a life time. Hard to put into words, our shock over the news of Kenn’s passing on. Ange, our heart goes out to you, your daughters and the rest of your family and to all us who feel the big void, so big that only Kenn was capable of leaving in everyone he knew. May his soul find peace with our maker.
I cannot even put into words the shock and sorrow we felt when we heard of Kenn’s passing. Kenn was always the most positive individual we have ever met – nothing seemed to get him down. He was a tremendous colleague, always willing to step up and help in any situation, and always with a smile. He was a brilliant man, always so thoughtful but never boastful. But his greatest joy was being a husband and father. His love for Ang was always so evident and he loved being a Dad to his beautiful girls. He always spoke with such pride about his family.
He had an enthusiasm for life that was unparalleled and we hope his family has some comfort in knowing that although his life was much too short, he seized and enjoyed every moment of the life he had.
The world has lost a truly wonderful man and we are all the worse for it. Our deepest sympathies, Danny & Elle
It was a pleasure to have known Kenn on the pickleball court. Always smiling, positive and having fun. Angela am so sorry for your loss, my thoughts are with you and your family in these trying time.
“I remember Kenn, with warm and fond memories. Always smiling and fun to be around. A gentleman and a joy to teach piano and voice lessons to. One of his favourite songs to sing was ‘What a
Wonderful World’ . Kenn sang with such emotion; he almost bought tears to my eyes!
He was also fond of classical music and played J S Bach’s Prelude 1 in C major with a flowing and beautiful light touch.
Ken’s musical interest also included dancing and Kenn and Angie danced with style and ease at Salsa lessons. It was a privilege to know them and to be included in their circle of friends.
God bless Kenn, Angie and their family”.
Sent from my iPad
Angela and family, I am sorry for your loss. Kenn was one of the most cheerful and empathetic people I have known. Thank you Kenn for having made the world a better place.
My deepest condolences to all the family. I had the pleasure of being a neighbour and friend in Lethbridge. My brother Ken and Kenn were friends. I knew he was in the forces but was not aware of all his accomplishments. May he rest in peace.
Kenn was a great friend. Always positive and all my memories of him have a common humorous thread. Kenn was a brilliant person too, anyone that knows him will attest to that. I’ll miss our random conversations, we chatted from time to time but still kept in touch, the last conversation was about us hitting 60 and then some brief basketball comments. I will miss him and will think of him often. Condolences to Angela and the girls and all of the Rodzinyak and extended family.
I first met Ken when he was a student on MOAT, circa 1985. As his instructor I was always impressed with his intellect, energy, cheerful demeanour and team spirit.. These traits served him well throughout his Air Force career. He will be terribly missed, Jill and I send our condolences to all his family.
A truly nice man and great leader. Was an honour to have worked with and for him! He will be missed.
Hi Angela and girls, so sorry and saddened with news of Kenn. It was an honour to be Kenn’s twin cousin. We shared great moments growing up together. Loved the rolling laugh and always a positive outlook. Kenn excelled at all he attempted, and encouraged everyone that they could do the same. Kenn could of been a pro baseball pitcher or outfielder, he thru a snowball thru a slight window opening 2nd floor up at high school, classmates all impressed but he did have to stay after class and reflect on his actions. I enjoyed our time playing football and hockey together as well as Kenn showing me the ways of the South Side. Love you Kenn, thank you for being you.
Our thoughts and prayers our with you and girls Angela.
Love Gary & Melonie Jackson
Kenn was my supervisor from 2019-2021. So yes he was my boss — but he was so much more — a genuine friend that felt like family. That was my favourite attribute about Kenn — he always cared deeply about other people. That is why we must continue his legacy by being the best we can be and treating other with kindness. Because that is Kenn. We’ll miss you and always remember you.
I’m so sorry for your loss, Angie. My thoughts are with you and your daughters.
I had the opportunity to meet Kenn while playing outdoor pickleball this past summer. He played a great game but even more important he enabled you to play a great game. It was how he made you feel, positive and happy to live life.
Angela and family,
I was shocked and very saddened to learn of Kenn’s passing. Although I first met Kenn when I worked at CFSAS in Winnipeg and he was a visiting lecturer on space policy, I really got to know him when I was subsequently posted to DG Space. After he retired and became a Reservist I replaced him as the Liaison Officer to the Canadian Space Agency. He was an excellent ambassador and a tough act to follow – everyone at the Agency who knew him always spoke very highly of him. Kenn was a fountain of knowledge and offered sage advice on a variety of topics, including his beloved beekeeping. Always humble, Kenn was inspirational to all who knew him and will be sorely missed. I offer my deepest condolences at this difficult time.
Oh Ange I’m just heartbroken for you, for Kristyn, Daphne and Celina, for all Kenn’s family and friends. I have thought so often over the years of the time we were able to spend together during and after grad school. I was always in such awe of your relationship. Some of my favourite memories have always been visiting you and Kenn (and a bit later Kristyn) in Comox. And reading on the site today I was witness to the incredibly beautiful life you and Kenn built together. I send light, love and my deepest condolences to you all.
Kenn and I became friends when I was 5 years old. Kenn was part of the “original St. Pats school gang..about 30 of us who went from grade 1 together..until graduation. We went to Maui together in 2013 with Angela as well..for 19 days. I asked Kenn if he wanted to stay with us and he said”okay..we will go”. . Now with Kenn..you new we were going.This time we reconnected.is even more precious now. Kenn once said to me in high school..”The only moment we have is the present” This stuck with me from then until now. His words could not ring truer today. “Do not wait or hesitate…get in your kicks..before it’s too late”….from a song you may recognize. I love you Best Friend ..and I will throw snowballs at you again…on the other side.
So very sad to hear of Ken’s sudden and unexpected passing! I have great memories of flying with him on the CP140, of his skill in the air and jovial nature all around. Our prayers are with Angie and the girls during this painful time. We shall meet again on sunnier shores, one day.
Kenn was an exceptional human being, always kind and extremely positive who made everyone around him a much better person. I was privileged to call him a close friend from the time we met in Grade 1 at St Pats. Although we did not keep in close touch in the later years, I truly was inspired by all the accomplishments he was able to achieve. I miss all the moments we had playing High School basketball together where he had incredible patience to teach me the skills how to play ! I will think of him often and will miss him. My sincere condolences to Angela and your family.
How difficult it is to write something so soon about an extraordinary being. When I first met Kenn in grade 1 we instantly became friends as he has done with most everyone. Our friendship grew and what a treat it was to have so many conversations and experiences along the way. Never a dull moment as Kenn was not one to “sit around”. As Kenn had many options for his best man, I was honored (and still am) that he asked me. Although we didn’t see each other as much in the past few years , I thought of of him often. I guess that’s the kind of effect Kenn has and will always have.
My life and others have been enriched by you Kenn! My condolences Angela and to your family.
My parents and I are said to hear about Kenn’s passing. Our thoughts are with you and your daughters.
I met Kenn at the 2006 summer session of the International Space University in Strasbourg, France. One evening, I was very upset about something. Kenn listened to me, put his arm around me, gave me his beautiful smile, and just like that things weren’t so bad anymore. What makes Kenn’s sudden passing all the more shocking is that he was always so good about health and well-being, for example, introducing me to the wonderful vegetarian restaurant Green Door in Ottawa. Kenn was also one of the most knowledgeable and well-read people I have ever met. One time we were walking his dog and we started geeking out over “A Fiery Peace in a Cold War”, Neil Sheehan’s superb biography of General Bernard Schriever (the German immigrant who arguably had a greater impact on the U.S. space program than that other German immigrant). One of Kenn’s favorite songs was “What a Wonderful World”. The world, and the universe, are less wonderful without him. My condolences to Angela, Kristyn, Daphne, and Celina.
Angela and family:
I was so sorry to hear of Ken’s passing. I have many fond memories of Ken through our school years and the time we spent on the basketball court. What an impressive life and career he had and it is very apparent he was was well respected by his colleagues and friends. Sending my sincere condolences and sympathy to you all.
Diane Shanks (Irvine)
I am so sorry to hear of Kenn’s passing. My condolences to you Angela and your family..
I really appreciated what your sister said about you having “kennergy’. I will use that term now in my science class, a 6th state of matter. Your lovely wife and family allowing us to participate in the service virtually was such a gift even in their grief. I will remember the parting song, “Be not afraid, I go before you always, come follow me and I will give you rest…” Ad Astra Philomena Bonis SSP02
Angela, I was shocked to hear Kenn’s passing. I flew with him on 415 Sqn many years ago. He was one of those people you always remember. I remember him juggling oranges in the aircraft with a big smile. I have good memories of my time on cew with him. My deepest sympathies, he will be missed.
I remember Ken as a student and an outgoing, fantastic student and person. Ken was liked by many students, staff and people. One distinct memory I have of Ken was doing a juggling act at a student presentation. Rest in peace and God Bless you. Angela and your daughters, I pray for strength and blessings. Please accept my sympathies.Lori Goble