Ken Small
Died 1 May 2015,
aged 78.
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Ken 14, and in his 70s.
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Ken Small entered Morgan primary in 1942, and left secondary in 1953 to begin an apprenticeship in the electrical industry.

Ken died of pulmonary fibrosis in Bonita, California. We don’t have a copy of an obituary, but the following is a summary of information taken from a publication authorised by Ken which was published during his lifetime.
Helmeted and suited in his skydiving gear, he clambered to the doorway of the light plane and peered down through bleary eyes. In a moment he would make the final of his three jumps, though he was still recovering from a hangover!

Ken (on the left in the photos below) had been out until the early hours of Sunday morning at a drinking party. It had begun Saturday evening following the first day of the two-day meet; he was in no condition to engage in any sport - much less one as dangerous as skydiving!

The plane climbed to 3,200 feet and began to circle the target - a canvas "X" staked out on a field far below. In his "after effects" state, Ken felt no concern for safety and at the proper moment he jumped from the plane, free fell 1,000 feet, pulled the rip cord of his parachute and drifted the final 2,200 feet to a landing right on target!

Coupled with two fine jumps on the previous day, Ken's "hangover" dive was good enough to win him the 1961 Pacific Northwest Skydivers' Spot Competition Trophy at Sunnyside, Washington. The trophy Ken took home to Vancouver, British Columbia, was one of two awarded annually to two skydivers (junior and senior). Ken had made the lowest total distance from landings to target after three jumps in the junior division. To win such an event, especially while recovering from a drinking party, was no small feat.

Drinking and skydiving are an unusual and dangerous combination (and one seriously frowned upon by authorities). But in Ken's case, they were activities in which he became involved for the same reason.

Ken Small had been born and grew up in Dundee, Scotland. Though his parents were very moral and frequently attended church, Ken and his older sister, Margaret, were not so regular. Religion was only a weekend affair in his home. The family Bible was left each week in the rented family pew, so it would be available the following Sunday.

The year Ken turned 15 was an eventful one for him when he began to serve his apprenticeship as an electrical engineer. At this time his mother urged him to join the church. Ken was willing to consider her request, for in the back of his mind he had a real desire to know God and know the truth to life. He often felt sorry that there seemed to be little "life" in the church. So, at his mother's suggestion, Ken began to attend membership classes. Searching, as he was, for purpose, joy, and meaning in life, Ken asked his minister many deep questions. When the pastor was unable to help him know God, Ken decided church had nothing to offer.

Soon after, still seeking, Ken began drinking. Occasionally, he asked to be helped to a friend's home in the early morning hours, unable to face his parents in his drunken state. He began partly as a reaction to his disappointment with the church and partly in order to gather enough courage to enjoy dancing. In his searching, he also tried several sports like soccer, judo and boxing. Dating girls, party-going, dancing, and drinking were his continual diversions.

At age 18 Ken began a two year stint in the Scottish Parachute Regiment in the Reserve Army which he chose because he felt its thrills and dangers might provide that which was missing in life. For the same reason, he later joined the Scottish Parachute Club and began skydiving which was an emerging sport at the time and very exciting. The participant takes a plane to 7,000 or as high as 15,000 feet, jumps, and free-falls to 2,000 feet - at which height the parachute must be opened. At this point the rate of decent is about 120 mph - 5000 ft in 30 seconds. Experienced skydivers can execute several maneuvers during their freefalls. The sport’s thrills and danger appealed to Ken in his continual search.

In 1961 Ken moved to Vancouver B.C. Canada to join his sister Margaret who had married a Canadian athlete (this was, in fact Jack Cowan, the Dundee FC footballer).

At his sister’s suggestion, Ken followed them to Canada’s West Coast where he obtained a job as a sales representative with Henry Electric, a large electrical distributor.

Still searching for “something” Ken joined the Vancouver Skydiving Club. That year he won his club’s Spot Diving Trophy (a feat he duplicated three more times) and the Pacific Northwest Trophy described earlier. He did well as a skydiver, becoming the eighth person in Canada to earn a “D” License, issued to those who have made over 200 free falls. He also became the British Columbia Area Safety Officer of Canadian Parachute Club, and as such he had the right to suspend any skydivers who violated safety rules.

He also became the British Columbia Area Safety Officer of Canadian Parachute Club, and as such he had the right to suspend any skydivers who violated safety rules.

By 1962, Ken had made enough jumps to move into the senior division in competitions.

That year he took second place as a senior in the Pacific Northwest spot competition, finishing third in the same Canadian competition, and began seriously training for the biannual World Championships in an effort to make the Canadian team. In spite of its thrills, Ken found that skydiving was not providing the deep inner joy he sought and realized that the sport was beginning to lose its appeal.

One day, he confided these thoughts to Jack Jordan, a fellow employee who happened to be a Christian. Ken had observed that Jack, and Henry McLaren, his employer, were ... different. He had noticed that McLaren kept a Bible on his desk and in his car and he wouldn’t listen to smutty stories or use profanity. More than this, Ken saw that both he and Jack seemed to have the joy and peace he lacked.

Jack talked to Ken about the Lord Jesus Christ, and invited him to church. He promised to go, but didn't because he was always skydiving on Sundays. Finally in March 1963, Ken attended a church service. He had a night class exam scheduled that evening and had left home to attend it, but suddenly felt that he must go to church instead. As the Bible study progressed, Ken felt that God was speaking to him. At the church he prayed at the altar, but not until a further talk at the McLaren home was he aware of his sinfulness and need for a Savior.

In Christ, Ken found the peace, purpose and truth he had vainly sought in drinking, skydiving, parties, and excitement.

Even today his eyes take on an added sparkle, and his delightful Scottish brogue mellows pleasantly, as he describes his conversion.

Ken and his wife Bev, married for over 40 years have been directing Real Life Ministries, a non-profit Christian mission in Mexico, for the same length of time.

RLM operates a surgical and dental clinic in Tijuana to help poorer families with their medical needs. RLM also builds houses at their center in Ensenada for families in need.

Ken Small, Morgan Academy pupil, died 1 May 2015, aged 78.