In Loving Memory 

Ken was born in Cape Town, South Africa and passed away suddenly in Vancouver, BC, Canada.  Ken is survived by his loving wife Nalini Lisa Joy McDermit Downie, fur child, Merry,  his parents, Pamela Sannie Laumeier and William Bill Downie, both residing in Capetown, South Africa, half brother Stuart (Stana) Downie in London, England, Uncle Anthony (Jane) Walton of Isle of Wight, England, Aunt Diana Gair, of England, Aunt Judy Cottier, of Vancouver, BC, Canada, several step-siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, many friends and past colleagues around the world.

Ken attended South African College School (SACS), in Capetown, South African Merchant Navy Academy (General Botha), Cape Peninsula University of Technology, and Lloyd’s Maritime Academy. Ken’s maritime shipping career started with sea crossings of all the oceans and visiting all continents as a 2nd Officer, with Safmarine based from Capetown.  He was a Navigation Officer onboard multiple international voyages to North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Antarctica.

Ken emigrated to Auckland, New Zealand, from South Africa in 2000, and worked there for seven years with NYK Line, becoming a NZ citizen, and enjoying the outdoor lifestyle of beautiful New Zealand. In 2007, Ken moved from Auckland to Sydney, Australia filling a National Shipping Operations Manager role with Hanjin Shipping.

Ken then met Nalini in Brisbane in 2008 and they were married in March 2010 on the Mornington Peninsula, in Victoria, Australia.  Together, they lived in both Melbourne and Sydney, Australia for a total of 12 years. During the years of 2014-2020, Ken worked for several global shipping lines including Patrick Terminals Melbourne, Seaway Agencies, and most recently Maersk Australia and Hamburg Sud.  Ken finished his impressive and successful 30-year career on the sea, as Port Captain and National Operations Manager in Sydney.

Ken moved to Canada with Nalini in February 2020 to start their new life in Vancouver BC.  The year 2020 was a challenging one for Ken, as it has been for many, and it included some health challenges that were overwhelming for him. Ken was a curious, sensitive, loving and supportive husband, with a quirky sense of humour.

He had many hobbies and sports interests, especially a love for the outdoors – the ocean, beaches, and warm climates of the southern hemisphere.  Ken was an avid sailor and loved his sailboat and sailing, sea kayaking, and swimming.   He was also a mountain biker, snow-skier, and had recently taken up running and even completed marathons in Sydney.  Ken was technically very savvy and had a collection of radio-controlled helicopters, drones, and kites that he loved flying.

He had a love for global travel that started with his seagoing career, and then together with Nalini, he enjoyed many special travel adventures across Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, England, Europe, Asia, US, Canada, as well as the Seychelles islands, and beyond, visiting over 50 countries.  Ken loved life and had a strong passion for new discoveries and self-learning.  As an agnostic, Ken respected, and remained curious, about all spiritual views.  Ken will be dearly missed by all that knew him well.

A Private Memorial will take place by Invitation only on Friday Oct 16th, 2020. In Honour of Ken, donations can be made to your organization of choice that is focused on Mental Health Awareness – let’s lose the stigma!

Condolences may be offered to the family below.

McCall Gardens

WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY is OCT 10th (World Health Organization)

“Move for Mental Health:  Let’s Invest.”

-Close to 1 billion people have a mental disorder

-Depression is a leading cause of illness & disability

-1 person dies every 40 seconds from suicide

-3 million people die every year due to harmful use of drugs


  • Gus Lobo

    Dear Nalini,

    I am deeply saddened with the news of Ken’s sudden and too early passing.

    Ken was a significant part of the shipping family and we are so saddened with his loss. Ken and his family are in our thoughts and prayers during this time.

    Please accept my warmest condolences. May he rest in peace.

  • Murray Ingram


    So sorry to hear of your passing. Having been at school with you, I recall the many days we commuted from school to home and the conversations relating to your CB radios and electronics. It was also a pleasure to reconnect a few years back in Australia. You will be missed.

  • Wes and Elisabeth Jordan

    Dear Nalini,

    We didn’t have the privilege of knowing Ken but our thoughts and sympathy go out to you in this difficult experience. Please know that if your travels bring you close to Rimbey, it would give us great pleasure to have you stop and visit. We have great memories of you in your growing up days at Rimbey.

    Lots of love, Wes and Elisabeth

  • Sharon and Bart Brown

    We remember Ken–his kind-heartedness, understanding, thoughtfulness and his love for Nalini–with gratitude for his life and place in our family. We enjoyed good conversations and looked forward to many more. His influence enriched our lives and certainly will continue. Love.

  • Gail McMurray

    My dear Nalini,

    My name is gail Mcmurray… one of the workers, I am down in Chile . I was a good friend to your mom and dad …I want you to know I love you . I was praying for your today .. so glad you stayed at Mary Louise .. glad Sandra could come . God loves you too … just trust and love Him … this is a very sad time for you but God draws near to comfort you ..
    with love and a hug , gail

  • Judy McColl Stearns

    On two occasions Nalini and Ken visited us in Orange County, California enroute to Canada from Australia. On their first visit we spent an evening on the historic Queen Mary ship. On the second in February we spent two nights together at Newport Beach. Both seaside resorts.
    Our last visit will always remain with me as a testament of Ken’s patience, kindness and respect. He went out of his way to include my elderly infirm husband Milne, helping him and engaging him in all our conversations with such loving respect.
    Ken will be deeply missed. Our love and support to Nalini for the days ahead.

  • Evelyn Smock

    Dear Nalini,
    Thank you for the beautiful service for Ken. I feel like I have known Ken for years. Enjoyed the lovely tributes and wept through them like many did I am sure. It is clear Ken was a special person and I am glad you have some years with him, enjoying his love for you and your interesting life together. It was wonderful to see and hear Sandra with her message of comfort. Will be thinking of you with much love in my heart Nalini,


  • Grenville Stevens

    Dear Nalini and Kens loved ones. Our deepest sympathy The news of Kens passing has come as a shock. I have known Ken for a number of years during his sojourn in Sydney. He helped out as a temp in my office. Ken and Nalini attended a few of the Aust Branch GBOBA functions and we stayed in touch over the years. A great friendly person taken too soon. Rest in Peace. Dear Nalini our thoughts are with you.On behalf of the Aust Branch of the GBOBA our deepest sympathy

  • Lou McCormick

    Dear Nalini, We met in Los Angeles many years ago when MaryLyn was here. I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I know what you are going through since my husband, Leonard, passed away 3 weeks ago. I didn’t know Ken but he sounds like he was a wonderful husband and I know you will miss him terribly. Thinking of you and trust in God’s comfort. Lou McCormick

  • Philip Thompson

    Can it be 30 plus years since I last saw Ken at or around the time that we left school? Saddened to hear of his passing. We live in frail times. My sincerest condolences to his extended family. RIP Ken

  • Darryl and Sue Mountain

    We are grateful that Ken was our friend over the past 10 years. We loved his calm, gentle, happy nature. He was a rock and his love and respect for you were evident. It was always a pleasure spending time with you both – the restaurant meals, house parties, kayaking adventures, Shows, the sailboat, the Banff Mountain Film Festival… To our children, you were one person, KenAndNalini. We mourn with you and we will miss him dearly. Our deepest sympathy to you and Ken’s family. With love Darryl and Sue x

  • Angela Laumeier

    Dear Nalini, although we never met, I knew Ken for many years in Cape Town and have very fond memories of him. He was a very kind person and always interested in people and what they did and had to say. His many achievements in life are testimony to his adventurous spirit and love for the outdoor life. We are all extremely saddened and I send my love and deepest sympathy to you and your family.

    Angela xx (Cumbria, UK) (mother to Julian, Sholto and Alexa Laumeier)

  • Andrew Kim


    I am deeply saddened by your departure from this world.

    You have been a great leader of mine that taught calm, humour and kindness at every levels. I still recall our working together at HSD which I do miss.

    You will be missed.

  • Joe Jung


    Remembering the small talks during the busy work environment and the way you approached each task with calm with a slight taste of your own signature sense of humour will be greatly missed. I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear of your loss. Please allow me to send my deepest sympathies to you and the family.

    May God be with you with comfort during this time and beyond.

  • Bloys, Jane, Donnae and Lara Rijkmans

    Our sincere condolences to you Nalini. We have lovely memories of Ken’s enquiring mind and sharp intellect, wonderful sense of humour and warm smile, patience and compassion towards animals and love and appreciation for all that nature has to offer. Rest in peace Ken and our thoughts are with you Nalini, in this difficult time.

  • Warren Green

    A quiet and thoughtful friend … years have passed since our high school days and it appears yours were filled with the excitement of discovery. You used them well! My condolences to the Downie family.

  • Lynnea Waselenko

    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss, Nalini. My condolences to you and all of Ken’s family. Thinking of you and sending much love.

  • Simon Pearson

    A very special student and fellow seafarer. A great career but importantly a wonderful person. Leaving behind a devoted wife is so sad when there could be so much more ahead. He now lives in peace.

  • Shaun Levy

    So sad to hear the news about Ken. May the memories you have comfort you during this difficult time.

  • Mike Fincken

    I am shocked and sadened for Ken and I began our sea careers together on the same training ship – the Constantia. We went onto college and sailed together from time to time. I always loved Ken for he stood out in his grounding nature – always both feet on the ground even at sea. But he reached for the stars, feeling his way and guided by what felt right for him. He was gentle and considerate of others. He will be missed but remembered fondly.

  • Tony Nicholas

    A sad loss of another Training Ship legend who lived our motto to the letter; Honour and Duty. He shall be missed.

  • Abid iqba

    you will be remembered with kind /supportive and positive attitude towards work/life.

    Gone too soon.

    It is very hard to comprehend that you departed this world.

    We miss your company on our regular coffee walk/chat with other HSD colleague Hany.

    May God bless you!

  • Janine Goodkey

    Nalani, my heart just breaks for you! We so enjoyed the day with you and Ken in Vancouver recently, never dreaming that you would be facing such heartache so soon! I feel honored to have known such a kind, special man for even a short time though! Our God is a loving Father and He knows and understands every human frailty. Sending all kinds of love and thoughts your way! Janine

  • James Downie

    Dear Uncle Ken,

    I am so sorry to hear of your tragic passing from this Earth. You will be greatly missed and I will always look back fondly on memories of you visiting Pa, myself and the family here in the UK. It was so nice to take a train ride to Worthing with you one fine sunny day when I was 12 years old and sit in a room with you, Pa and “Pop” Great Grandpa (Chris Downie) and have 3 different generations of Downies together, for that moment, in one small, happy room full of joy. We even had our photograph taken and it was smiles all round. I will always remember you with that same smile in my heart. Forever. May your soul rest in peace, eternal love and light.

    Your proud nephew,

    James xoxo

  • Rolanda Eadie

    So sorry to hear of your loss. Please know you are in our thoughts and prayers.

  • Ashley Parker

    It is with the greatest sadness that I’m learning of Ken’s passing. I will always remember his as the kind, gentle, friendly and full of life person that he always was. My condolences to all his family and friends.

    Rest in peace, Ken.

    Ashley Parker

  • Dominic Enthoven

    It was always such a great pleasure working with Ken. He was unfailingly calm and collected at moments of stress, and his sense of humour, that ready smile and ability to plan his way through the next challenge before him will always be remembered. It was such a great shock to hear of his passing. Deepest condolences from me and everyone who knew him here at Hamburg Sud.

  • Marti in Sydney

    Ken was such a gentle calm soul, easy to be with but very private. He will be missed by all, my heart goes out especially to Nalini❤️

  • Marvin and Heather Wesenberg

    Nalini, our deepest sympathy goes out to you and all of Ken’s family and friends. We’re sharing in your sadness and thinking of you.

  • Marvin and Merilyn Sargeant

    Awe Nalini this is just so sad…such an accomplished man..glad you had really good years too…so sorry and keep thinking of you alone and going thru this ….your folks would have been so there for you and caring for you but thats not to be..Be brave..I know you are a strong woman…enjoy all your beautiful memories are so fortunate to have done so much together in a few short years

  • Sury Raju

    We were very sorry to hear of Ken’s sudden demise. Our thots and prayers are with you. Please accept our heartfelt sympathy. May God comfort you at this time.

  • Candace Crowley

    Dearest Nalini:
    My heart breaks for you; 2020 has not been a kind year. Take good care of yourself, surround yourself with all the beautiful and good memories you have. You and Ken had so many adventures and accomplished so much allover the world. Know that you are loved by many and you can call/text me anytime.

  • VanessaBush

    Ken, will miss you though we were ocean apart these last few years we always kept in touch and was lucky to have seen them in Sydney 5 years ago. Remembering the fun and laughs we had when growing up in Cape Town , teaching me to windsurf , sailing and trying to find something to eat when the folks were out. RIP dear brother

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