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Photo by Igor Djokovic, camping above San Juan river, Arizona USA

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!

Photo by Igor Djokovic,
camping above San Juan river,
Arizona USA

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Old 20 Nov 2020
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Audrey Therese Allenspach-Kok, Nov. 7 2020

It is with great sorrow that I make this post:

Audrey Allenspach-Kok passed away on the morning of Saturday, November 7, 2020 after a four-month battle with an extremely aggressive brain cancer. Audrey was born in Bassano, Alberta to Verna and Erwin Allenspach on February 25, 1962, the second of five children. The young family moved to Carstairs, Alberta shortly after Audrey was born and that is where Audrey grew up.

Growing up in small-town Carstairs it was evident that Audrey excelled at sports, having a natural talent for them in everything from badminton to volleyball. Audrey joined the Carstairs girl’s hockey team playing defence. Audrey discovered the thrill of downhill skiing and worked at Sunshine Village during the winter and built trails there during the summer. After finishing her Bachelor of Physical Education at the University of Calgary, where she lived in residence and made lifelong friends, she became a ski instructor. Audrey moved from Calgary to Ottawa to teach skiing and in the summer was a youth worker. This solidified her passion for both teaching and working with youth.

While in Ottawa in 1987, Audrey met Ekke Kok and the two soon fell in love. After a long-distance relationship, the two came together permanently in 1988 in Calgary and were married in 1990. Following her passion for teaching and working with youth, she enrolled in the Bachelor of Education program when she returned to Calgary. After graduation, Audrey started a career as an elementary school teacher with the Calgary Board of Education. Much like sports in her youth, Audrey found she had a talent for working with children and bringing out the best in them. Her philosophy of using kindness, compassion and empathy enabled her students to reach their potential. Over Audrey’s 28-year career as a teacher at Ogden Elementary, Queen Elizabeth Elementary, Killarney Elementary, Captain John Palliser and at Griffith Woods she brought out the best in more than 600 students.

In 1998 Audrey and Ekke discovered that it was possible to ride a motorcycle around the world. While Audrey had been a passenger on the back of Ekke’s motorbike since they met, she decided to take a motorcycle safety training course and obtain her own motorcycle, a BMW F650ST. All the better to explore the world (or in her words, so she could take along a hair dryer). In 2002 Audrey and Ekke took a year-long sabbatical from work and spent the year travelling throughout Europe and North Africa. Before their return, they had already started planning their next trip, eventually taking three more sabbaticals and riding around the world. Back at school Audrey was able to bring lessons learned while travelling to her students. This continued to be a theme throughout her travels, always looking for something to be brought back for her students, whether it be an artifact or a cultural lesson to be incorporated into the curriculum. In all, Audrey and Ekke visited 83 countries (80 by motorcycle) plus Antarctica. As it was Horizons Unlimited that initially fired up Audrey’s imagination for world travel in 1998, she felt it important to give back to the community that gave so much to her. She volunteered at and helped organize many CanWest Horizons Unlimited Travellers Meetings and presented at Horizons Unlimited meetings around the world from Thailand to Montenegro where she inspired others to explore the world.

Audrey Allenspach-Kok is survived by her loving husband, Ekke Kok, and siblings Helena Richter (Willi, Andrew, Robin), Yvonne Allenspach, Jacqueline Allenspach (Kalin, Jill) and Alfred Allenspach (Tracy, Maggie, Gabe). And of course, the many students she has taught who carry her kindness and compassion to the world.

A Memorial Service will be held at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Airdrie Alberta on November 21 at 1:00 PM. Due to COVID-19 restrictions attendance will be by invitation only. The service will be available as a livestream on the St. Paul’s YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/yvPyj7L_chE
Grant Johnson
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Old 20 Nov 2020
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She touched so many lives, including ours, we can’t believe that she’s gone so young! Audrey will be sorely missed by us and many others.

We first met Audrey in 1998 at a BMWMOA rally in Missoula, where she and Ekke attended our presentation on our RTW trip. Apparently we were the inspiration for their subsequent travels, which made us very happy!

They've been wonderful friends ever since, and we've watched their travels with delight. Audrey was a huge help, the spark plug for the volunteers helping out at the CanWest Meeting, and was always an inspiration to everyone she met.

Audrey and Ekke organizing CanWest 2018

And yes that's Audrey in the poster on the left in front of the pyramids!

Our deepest sympathies to Ekke and all the family and friends

Susan and Grant Johnson
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Old 27 Nov 2020
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You were a very special person, the adventures that you and Ekke shared were always great to follow. Your positivity and optimism are legendary, the two of you used to hold Nakusp together. We al knew you as the motorbike adventurer, it wasn't until reading the tributes that I realised what an impact you made as a school teacher.
You had your final ride this week, and no words can express how sad it was, but good to see the sky was blue for you in Canada.
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