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Robert Kim Kratky

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Robert Kim Kratky

May 15, 1946 - March 12, 2013


Kim enjoyed a long and fulfilling life as a West Kootenay educator, mountaineer, skier, environmental activist, husband, father and grandfather.

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, he attended that city’s public schools and went on to earn degrees in History and in English from the university of Kansas. While an undergraduate, he joined Delta Tau Delta social fraternity, which led to life-long friendships so important to someone with no siblings. In 1969 Kim earned a Master of Arts in English Literature from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois and immediately moved to the faculty at Central Michigan University’s English Department, where he was an Instructor for two years.
Yearning for overseas travel in the summer of 1971, Kim resigned his post for European and Middle Eastern gallivanting. In Nicosia, Cyprus, he met his future wife and life partner Canadian Janice Isaac and they traveled together.

They returned to the USA and then moved to Nelson, B. C. Canada in March, 1973. Kim acquired his Canadian Landed status, taught part-time at the old Notre Dame University of Nelson and worked as a labourer at Kootenay Forest Products and the CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway). In December 1974, the couple left on another trip, this time, a year long journey through Africa by public transport from north to south – a defining experience in Kim’s life. Back in Nelson in 1976, Kim earned his BC Professional Teaching Certificate at Notre Dame and went immediately to teach at Stanley Humphries Secondary in Castlegar,  1977 – 1990.

In 1985, the couple lived in Tugun, Queensland, where Kim was on a teacher exchange at Mermaid Waters near Surfer’s Paradise, Australia. Kim and Janice were married in Queensland, Australia in 1985. After returning to Canada in 1986, they adopted daughter Karla from Honduras  and in 1988 they adopted her sister, Julia, completing their family. In 1990 Kim was hired by Selkirk College where he was a member of the English and Renewable Resources faculties, teaching composition, literature, Commonwealth Literature and various resource related courses until his retirement in 2010.

Kim’s mountaineering began in 1973 when he and Janice joined the Kootenay Mountaineering Club (KMC) and Kim made his first ascent, an easy slog up Ymir Mtn. Kim honed his skills, became a volunteer rock and snow instructor for the KMC (it was all amateur in those days) and attended his first of many KMC summer climbing camps in 1976, this one at Deville Neve south of Rogers Pass. He was a regular at these camps over 30 years, climbing extensively in the Selkirk, Purcell, and Monashee Mountain Ranges. In 1996 and 1998 Kim was part of two locally-based, self-contained, non-guided climbing expeditions in Peru and Bolivia. Both times, the party met with great success (Pisco Deste, 18,872 ft., in the Cordillera Blanca; Huayna Potosi, 20,000 ft, Cordillera Real of Bolivia). Around the year 2000, Kim began to climb with David Jones’ Flying Circus, a link that led to warm friendships and new climbing opportunities. Kim provided “exceptional assistance” in providing data for two of Jones’ books, Selkirks South and Selkirks North. As Kim’s career matured, he turned more to backcountry skiing and was a regular in the Whitewater Backcountry  and at Kootenay Pass, often racking up 50 – 60 backcountry days per season with wife Janice and main ski partner Howie Ridge. He was also at recent ski mountaineering camps at Blanket Glacier, Mt. Lyell, and Fairy Meadows.

Kim expressed his love for rural BC  in his decades long involvement with the environmental movement. In 1981, he was part of a three day climbing and hiking traverse of the Valhallas with Ministry employees to help put the final stamp on Valhalla Provincial Park. Having been the KMC Conservation Chair for some two decades, he represented the club at stakeholder meetings where numerous agreements over backcountry commercial recreation were hammered out. In the 1990’s, he became a member of West Arm Watershed Alliance’s steering committee and worked to create West Arm Wilderness Park.
Since 1990, Kim has been very active on the West Kootenay side in working to preserve the Jumbo Creek  valley from a massive mega ski resort. At the time of his illness, he was spokesperson for West Kootenay Coalition for “Jumbo Wild” and had addressed numerous local rallies and sparred with the developers over a twenty year period.

Kim was a keen gardener and cook. His interest in the study of Spanish language and literature led to multiple visits to Central America and Spain, a six month sojourn in South America and a love for, and familiarity with, Latin American fiction in the original Spanish.
Kim is survived by his wife, Janice and his two very much loved adult daughters, Karla and Julia, and a wonderful baby grandson Joel, born in 2012.

Kim always said he had no regrets – there was no “bucket list” left for him. He imagined himself as like a character in Shakespeare’s Macbeth: “We shall not soon see his like again”. He was right.

The family wishes to thank Dr. Moulson and Dr. Malpass, the 3rd floor nursing staff at Kootenay lake Hospital, and The Nelson Home Support Program for their excellent care.

As an expression of sympathy, family and friends may make donations in Kim's name to:

The Canadian Cancer Society / BC and Yukon Division
565- 10th Ave West
Vancouver, BC



Send a condolence, light a candle and/or share a memory, click "Send Condolence". Once your message has been approved by the moderator it will be posted to the website.

Pages: 123

From: Thompson Funeral Service Ltd. Staff

Thompson Funeral Service Ltd. Staff send our condolences to family and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

From: John Eggleton and Family
Relation: Friend of many years

I grieve the loss of my close friend Kim. A most cherished friendship will wait awhile and then we’ll carry on in love and companionship for eternity once again. A most marvellous and endearing human being who gave his all toward a better world. Janice Carla and Julia, I’m so proud to know you, and to have experienced such genuine love and caring all generated by your wonderful deeds and actions and support. I’ll miss Kim everyday. I’ll love him for eternity. John

From: Sue von der Porten
Relation: Worked together at Selkirk College

My condolences to the family of Kim Kratky. I am so sad to hear about him passing away. For several years I commuted to Castlegar from Nelson with Kim. He always made each morning, however early, incredibly bright. He regaled us with stories of his latest ski touring adventures, snow conditions, and finds for new places for powder stashes. I can only wish to live a life as adventurous and with so much time spent in the mountains as Kim did.

From: M Joey Gatchell
Relation: know his children

Janice, Karla & Julia…I am so sorry to hear about Kim’s passing. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

From: Valerie Swetlishoff
Relation: Former Teacher

I remember “Mr. Kratky” from high school in Castlegar. He so enjoyed a good story and a well written one. We will say a prayer for Kim and the family that is left behind to remember him.

From: Clarence "CH" Hagstrom
Relation: High School classmate and friend

From many miles and nearly 50 years of separation, I am saddened to hear of Kim’s passing. As high school classmates, teammates, and friends, we shared so many laughs and meaningful conversation. I regret not staying in touch, especially after reading other condolences. It is comforting to know that Kim remained a loving, caring, encouraging man. I miss him even more at this moment.

From: William (Bill) Waring
Relation: Jr High, and high school Friend

I was looking forward to our 50th reunion, and hoping to restart a friendship that started so many years ago, interrupted by our lifes. Kim was someone that was very easy to talk to, and enjoyed our conversations, you were and will be missed. Bill

From: John Rowell
Relation: Friend, colleague

Goodbye Kim, you were always so thoughtful about other people. I still keep all the newspaper clippings you thought would interest me. You won’t have to climb anymore; you’ll be always at the summit.

From: Janet Henderson
Relation: friend of the family

When I think of Kim and his family, a smile always comes to my face. I have good memories of skiing with Kim and Janice, having some dinners together and hearing of some of his expeditions. Kim, a thoughtful, family man with a passion for life has given all who knew him something of value to remember. I am sorry to be in Ontario now and not able to attend the service on April 6. My thoughts will continue to be with his family, Janice, Carla and Julia.

From: Natalie Petersen
Relation: Instructor- took a class from him.

I wish to send my condolences to Kim Kratky ‘s family. Many years ago I took a Technical Writing Course from him. May he rest in peace.

Pages: 123

Service Schedule

  Funeral Service

Date & Time:
April 6, 2013
Beginning at 1:00pm

Selkirk College Mary Hall
810 Tenth Street
Nelson, BC Canada V1L 1C8

810 Tenth Street
Nelson, BC Canada V1L 1C8

Memorial Gifts

Memorial donations will be gratefully accepted to:

Canadian Cancer Society
BC and Yukon Division
565 10th Ave West
Vancouver, BC
V5Z 9Z9

Thank You Notice

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