Kenneth Alan Barsby was born in Kempsey on the October 21, 1929, the youngest son of Cec and Irene Barsby.
Primary school years were happy years spent at East Kempsey Primary School.
High school meant, much to Ken's disappointment, leaving Kempsey to attend boarding school.
Ken did well at Shore School in Sydney, becoming a prefect and excelling in sport.
He played Rugby Union for his school, rowed in the school eights and captained the shooting team winning a sporting blue for his efforts.
In 1946 Ken returned to Kempsey to work in the family business, Barsby's Department Store. Ken worked in the Manchester Department, when sheeting was sold by the yard.
Ken loved fashion, particularly jewellery and hats, bringing to Kempsey the latest fashions. Ken worked hard to ensure Barsby's display windows were right up to the Sydney store standard.
His purchases and introduction to Kempsey of flamboyant earrings resulted in record sales.
Sport continued to play an important part in Ken's life in his younger years. He was a member of the 1948 Premiership winning Central Kempsey Rugby League team.
One of Ken's proudest achievements was in 1952, stroking for the Kempsey Crescent Head Senior Boat Crew to win the Branch Championship at Forster.
For his longtime support of the Crescent Head Surf Club, Ken was made a life member.
In 1952 Ken married his first wife, Robin. They had three children together, Graeme, Peter and Steven.
Ken met and married his second wife, Lesley, in 1981 and the pair had two children, Cheryl and Sharon.
Throughout his life, Ken always had a great love for the family store. It was justifiably a source of great pride to Ken that his grandfather, John Henry Barsby, opened the first store back in 1908.
In 1965, after the sudden death of his father, Ken became joint manager of Barsby's with his uncle, Charley Barsby. After Charley's retirement, Ken continued as Store Manager.
In the mid 60s Ken decided he would venture into a rural life to compliment his business interests and went on to buy his first farm upriver, "Sundowner" located on Sundown creek from George Hudson which he kept until 1981.
He bought his favourite property "Billybyang" in 1967 and worked this property on weekends and days off until selling it due to health reasons in 1998. Ken loved the rural life and loved sharing with family and friends.
Ken and Lesley travelled a lot of Asia and Europe together, with much time spent in Kens beloved Italy.
Thailand was their favourite Asian country to visit. Ken had so much respect for the dignity and friendliness of the Thai people.
As well as overseas travel, the bucket list of Aussie travel was well covered with the majority of Aussie outback adventures over the time, using tents, off road caravans and campers.
Ken's public life of contribution to the good of the valley and its citizens was rich and varied. He served on the Chamber of Commerce for many years. He chaired the Chamber in 1971 and 1972 and he was elected an Alderman on Kempsey Municipal Council serving from 1972 to 1975. He joined the Rotary Club of Kempsey in 1967 and maintained his membership until 2014.
Ken also became a newspaper owner, with the support of Barsby shareholders. The Kempsey & District Times became Kempsey's second newspaper, with the name later changed to the Mid Coast Observer.
Ken remained the Store Manager of Barsby's until his retirement in 1999 at the age of 70. Ken's eldest son Graeme carried on the Barsby tradition becoming manager and remaining there until the Store closure in 2014.
Ken and Lesley moved to the lifestyle Village at Lake Cathie called Ocean Club Resort when they retired. This allowed Ken to discover a love of bowls and enjoy the social life of the resort, particularly when it involved music and dancing.
Following a stroke in May 2015, which caused severe damage to Ken's short term memory, Ken became a permanent resident of Macleay Valley House at Frederickton in 2016.
He always loved the views of the Macleay and the mountains which meant Macleay Valley House was the perfect place to see out the last of his days.
When visiting Ken, he loved to talk about the quality of the cabinetry in tables and furniture which is a memory of his appreciation of architecture and a job done well.
This was Ken. A true gentlemen: dressing for dinner, a glass of wine at 5pm, watching the sunset and earnestly discussing world events.
Lesley remained his beloved wife and was with him when he passed peacefully on March 21 2020. He was farewelled by family and friends at the Chapel of Walkers Crematorium & Memorial Gardens in Frederickton one year later on March 20, 2021.
He is survived by his wife Lesley, children Graeme, Peter, Steven, Cheryl and Sharon, his daughters-in-law Paula, Emma and Michelle, sons-in-law Dom and Tony, his grandchildren Jodie, Laura, Kate, Erica, Jo, Chantelle, Claudia, Lucas, Jayden, Chloe and great-granddaughter Aleeyah.