Kenneth Hartwell
Kenneth Hartwell
Kenneth Hartwell
Kenneth Hartwell
Kenneth Hartwell
Kenneth Hartwell

Obituary of Kenneth George Hartwell


Kenneth George Hartwell, age 87, of Edina, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on April 17, 2024, after a courageous fight against cancer.

Ken is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Barb, and daughters: Lisa Gardner (husband Anj and children Zach, Emily and Abby); Kristi Doshan (husband Mark and children Maddi, Michael and Alex); and Nancy Phinney (husband Scott and children Charlie, Grace and Sophie). 

Ken was born in Swan Lake, Manitoba, Canada in 1936 and alternated his time between hockey, baseball and duck hunting, depending on the season. His athleticism landed him a coveted full ride to Colorado College to play hockey where he graduated in 1961. 

Ken moved to Minnesota from Canada with his bride in 1966. After a short stint at 3M, he went on to found an advertising company, Kolesar and Hartwell, which was one of the most significant highlights of his career.

In addition to his professional endeavors, Ken had many passions. He loved the water and spent 15 years living on Lake Minnetonka and kept a boat on that lake until last summer. For many years, his summer evenings were spent taking his girls water skiing after work. Another highlight was his annual summer trip to Les’ Loft, the family cottage at West Hawk Lake in the Whiteshell Provincial park in Manitoba, which he helped build.

Ken also loved to ski in the mountains and enjoyed many family trips to Beaver Creek and Snowmass. Many of his friendships were formed around water and snow and Ken and Barb loved to travel throughout the Caribbean. From his honeymoon in the Bahamas to Barbados and St. Barts, he never tired of the wonderful sea air and sandy beaches. His favorite spots were at his brother Ron’s place in Grand Cayman and in Destin, Florida. 

Another highlight was the many family cruises that started in 2014 as a celebration of Ken and Barb’s 50th Anniversary and continued almost annually for the past ten years. Ken said his favorite part of the cruise was the nightly dinner where we would all share a meal together. So much bantering and fun took place on those trips and it filled all of our hearts.

Ken adored his wife and “his girls”. He said his family was his greatest accomplishment and we agree. Please join us to celebrate a life well lived and well loved.

Ken’s Celebration of Life will be at Meetinghouse Church (formerly Colonial Church) 6200 Colonial Way, Edina on May 24, 2024 at 10:00am. There will be a coffee and treats reception immediately following the service.



Celebration of Life

10:00 am
Friday, May 24, 2024
Meetinghouse Church
6200 Colonial Way
Edina, Minnesota, United States
Reception to follow.
Share Your Memory of