An autographed guitar won as part of a Rose Garden Hospice fundraiser has returned home.
In 2019, longtime Prince Albert artist and musician Ken Lyons won a guitar autographed by Roy “Dusty” Rogers Jr., the son of legendary actor and singer Roy Rogers, and his band Sons of the Pioneers during a performance at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre. Lyons passed away in March 2021, and since the guitar raffle was a Rose Garden Hospice fundraiser, Lyons’ family decided it was fitting to donate the instrument back to the hospice.
“Sadly, the hospice was not open when Ken became very ill and he passed away in 2021,” Lyons’ wife Marina said after making the donation. “At that time, and we had talked about this too, we thought that the place for this guitar was the Rose Garden Hospice. It’s kind of come home … and our family is happy about that.”
Marina and a few family members presented the guitar to Rose Garden Hospice Executive Director Brett Enns, and hospice board members Arne Lindberg and Darcy Sander during a brief ceremony Friday afternoon.
Enns said the hospice was a perfect home for the guitar.
“When Mrs. Lyons phoned and told me the story it was just so exciting,” Enns said. “Here was this cool guitar that started at the Rose Garden, but has done this journey through, and now she wants to bring it back home to have here.”
Although it’s autographed, staff and visitors will still be able to play the guitar. Enns said having live music in the building will be a welcome addition.
“It just adds to the whole feeling of a home, and families just appreciate it so much,” he said. “It just adds a separate (and) important aspect to what we do here.”
The Lyons family are longtime supporters of the Rose Garden Hospice. Marina said they gave a little bit every year right from the start.
Although Ken was known publicly for his artistic side, Marina said it was his role as an ordained Anglican priest that convinced them to support the hospice.
“We had some times with people in hospital as they passed away,” Marina remembered. “The Victoria Hospital is very good. It’s nothing against the hospital, but we thought so many times how wonderful it would be if there was a hospice for those last days for people. We had always supported the hospice, and this guitar, it just seems the right place for it.”
Marina said Ken was shocked when he won the autographed guitar at the Rawlinson in 2019. She purchased two raffle tickets while Ken visited with friends, and never told him about it.
“When Ken’s name was drawn he was totally surprised and had to get up and go down to the stage and receive this guitar,” Marina remembered with a chuckle. “There was a bit of a reaction from the audience because quite a few people recognized Ken as being a person who had done a lot of music in Prince Albert and knew that he could play the guitar.
“He took ownership of the guitar and, very graciously, Dusty Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers just stayed around for ages after the concert so we could visit and take pictures and hear about their lives and so on. It was a wonderful evening.”
Ken Lyons worked as a teacher in Weldon, Pelican Narrows, Carrot River, and various Prince Albert schools. He was also involved in several local musical groups, including The Parish Singers, and Men of the Way. He was also a 25-year volunteer with the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region.
Lyons’ daughter Gillian Lyons and son Christopher Lyons joined Marina for the donation, along with their spouses Peter Gravlin, and Linda Lyons respectively.