In Memory: Ken Pedersen, a good man, a great friend, and the best neighbor

June 11, 2024
Ken Pedersen with his granddaughter Robin Pedersen Flannery. Photo from Facebook

We lived across the street from Ken Pedersen for 32 years. If there ever was an image of the quintessential New England Yankee, I can’t think of a better example than Ken. He always held his cards close to his vest and definitely needed to size you up before you’d be allowed into his world.  

I still remember vividly the first day we met. I was in the driveway cleaning up moving boxes and he came out to say “hi.” I introduced myself and suggested, “Maybe we can have you over for dinner sometime.” 

He stopped me right there, holding up his hand, and said, “maybe coffee.” 

That was Ken in a nutshell: very private, and definitely cautious about letting people become too close too soon. However, once you were admitted to his world, there was no better friend than Ken!

Once after a particularly slushy March snow storm, I was struggling with the end of the driveway and becoming more and more frustrated. The next thing I knew, here comes Ken with his snowblower. He never said a word, but just started moving the snow with me. 

Another story to describe how our friendship deepened involved one of our cats. We had a cat door and three cats when we first moved in. The cats came and went during the day, including keeping an eye on Ken who had just retired and was home most of the day. One cat decided she did not want to be left alone when we were at work. So, one day she walked up to Ken’s door and prompted him to let her in. She jumped up onto his lap and the next thing you knew, they spent the rest of the day watching cowboys together. This was their daily routine from then on, with Ken providing his own kitty daycare. 

One rainy day, after we had gotten home from work at the end of the day, there was a knock on the door. There stood Ken, bundled up in a heavy raincoat. When he stepped into our house, he unzipped that coat and who was inside, all safe and dry? Kizzy the cat. Ken handed her off to us with a smile, saying “She didn’t want to get wet!” 

We eventually *did* have dinner together, and many cups of coffee were shared over the years. Ken would tell me his stories of growing up poor in Carlisle and what Bedford was like when he first moved here and the changes that took place over the years. 

Ken grew up a farmer, spending hours helping out the family. Being a fair skinned Norwegian, the sun really took its toll on him. Later in life, Ken paid the price, trading time in the farm fields with time at the dermatologist. Every time he returned from a doctor’s appointment he looked like a victim of mugging. I used to joke with him about trying to lose weight one gram at a time!

Ken took his love of farming and wealth of knowledge and spent hours every summer teaching my wife how to cultivate the best tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, basil, and a host of other garden delights. 

It was obvious Ken was well liked by his crew at the DPW. I recall that first year after he retired when we had a big snowstorm. I looked out the window and there were at least five or six plows on our tiny street (there are only three houses on it). It seemed as if the whole Bedford DPW crew had come over to check up and make sure he was okay. I had the feeling the crew simply wanted to let him know that they had things covered and Ken could rest easy.

After my own dad died, Ken became kind of a surrogate father. I would often go over to watch the Patriots with him in the fall. During Covid, we decided early on that Ken would be part of our bubble, and we would visit with him daily and do shopping for him.

Ken had a long life, with more than his share of sadness, but also enjoying the love of his life when he and Muriel Braverman married, a second marriage for both who were widows/widowers. It was an honor to be able to witness those happy days and the many years that followed. 

Ken was a good man, a great friend, and the best neighbor we could have hoped to ever have. I will miss him dearly.

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Marian Hobbs
June 12, 2024 11:07 am

This is truly heart-warming.

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