In honour of Kenneth Epps


Until his retirement this month, Kenneth Epps worked for Project Ploughshares from 1986 to 2014, conducting research and policy analysis on issues related to small arms and light weapons, the international arms trade, and Canada’s military industry.

On Saturday Oct. 18, 2014, friends, family, and colleagues honoured Ken with a retirement celebration held at The Button Factory in Waterloo, Ontario.

A number of Ken’s colleagues who could not attend sent messages. Here is one such message, with accompanying photo:

Dear Ken,
Greetings from The Forum!  All of us here at the humanitarian disarmament forum want to wish you the best for your retirement.  We have appreciated your calm leadership and insightful contributions to our collective success.  We often talk about campaigners as ordinary people with extraordinary impact and while there is debate among us if you are truly just an ordinary person but there is no debate at all about the extraordinary impact of your career.  While we can’t be there tonight to celebrate your career and your achievements, we are sending our congratulations on a wonderful career and we truly hope that you will continue to contribute to humanitarian disarmament.
Your Humanitarian Disarmament Friends

But for those who could be in Waterloo on Saturday, there were spirits, speeches and some ceilidh dancing. 

Stephen Allen of Presbyterian Church in Canada offered a lovely tribute for Ken. You can read it here.

Bob Nally, pictured below, recited a poem he wrote for Ken. We share it below:


A tribute to our friend Ken

Our friend Ken is a man of Peace
Not only professionally but personally too

Any smidgen of aggression he keeps on ice
And when flinging darts with great skill he tries to be nice

When it comes to games, Ken likes to compete
A peace offering of points up front lowers the heat
When cross country skiing in Sniders Wood
A Wee flask with the “Angles Portion” does lots of good
Now and then he has to stop to take a wee sip
Allowing us slower folks to go by him at quite a zip

Ken with his brilliant mathematical mind
Reads for fun the most complex books he can find
The perimeter lectures on Quantum and Strings
Are a mere bagatelle for his high-minded flings

We’ve known ken as a friend for over 40 years
We’ve solved all the world’s problems over a couple of beers
He’s dedicated his life to development and peace
So that justice may reign and violence may cease

As the good book says, “How beautiful are the feet of him who brings peace”
As you go on life’s journey at a more leisurely pace
May you find joy in a world that you have made a better place
Respected worldwide for the work you have done
May you not feel pressure and “under the gun”
I knew it was poor judgment to make in this gathering such a pun
But when we beat all our weapons into ploughshares
Life will be a whole lot more fun

If it wasn’t for the drinking and dancing and the “S” at the end of your name
You could, as a peacemaker, be a fully certified participant in the Mennonite game

You have lit a candle to show us the way
Your legacy will be built on, to let peace hold sway

And, finally, here are a few snapshots from the party.


John Siebert, Peter Noteboom, Ken Epps and Ernie Regehr.




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