Ken "Kenny" Pinto Jr.


Obituary For Ken "Kenny" Pinto Jr.

After an engaging and accomplished life, on the 18th of September 2023, Ken(Kenny) Pinto, Jr. passed away at his home in Dartmouth, N.S. at the age of 73 due to heart failure. He is survived by his younger brothers (the three of them known as the ‘Burmese Soul Brothers’), Robert(Bobby) of Toronto and William(Billy) of Halifax, and numerous cousins and relatives in Halifax, Toronto and Boston, as well as Perth, Australia. He was the son of the late Kenneth B. Pinto Sr. of Rangoon, Burma and Ida W. Pinto(nee Skeir) of Halifax.

Growing up in 1950’s Halifax’s north end, Kenny went to Alexander McKay Elementary, St. Joseph’s Jr. High, and later St. Pat’s High. Many summers were spent in Boston and Framingham, Massachusetts. He attended St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, where he was the first Black altar boy in Nova Scotia, to be followed by his brothers. Throughout the 1960’s at the YMCA on South Park St., he joined ‘Hi-Y’ becoming an active member, where he made many long-lasting friendships with artistic and creative like-minded enthusiasts. Enrolling at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, he won a national art contest to design the symbol/logo for the First Canada Games, which is still used to this day. At Dalhousie University, he graduated with a B.A. in English literature. In 1972 Kenny traveled to Africa; touring Ethiopia in the east and Ghana in the west. He then initiated a joint project between Halifax’s and Toronto’s Black communities, called ‘Soul-to-Soul’, involving high school and university students that created lasting connections(as well as memories) for many years to come.

In the 1980’s, after starting work at the post office, Kenny organized and launched the Halifax Fringe Festival, one of the most successful in the country. Throughout the subsequent decades, the week around Labor Day was alive with numerous local and international stage productions.

His profound interest in the Titanic led him to produce and promote its 2012 100th Anniversary Commemoration in Halifax which featured artifacts and memorabilia from the ship, that drew international attention and coverage.

When Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election, Kenny organized a celebration at the Halifax World Trade Centre for that historical event, allowing the local Black community to join their American counterparts.

Although Kenny’s eyesight in recent years had seriously deteriorated due to an auto accident in 2006, at the time of his passing, he was focused on writing a musical. An independent and unstoppable force of nature, he was in all respects a ‘mover-and-shaker’, and his objectiveness and unbiased assessments on politics, social issues, arts and culture were always welcomed and continually refreshing.

The son of a Burmese father and a Black Nova Scotian mother, he grew up on curried chicken, black-eyed peas and rice, sugar cookies and custard pumpkin pie. He was aspirational and inspirational, curious, energetic and creative. Yes indeed, he will be missed. Rest in grace, Kenny.

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  • 07/08/2024

    I'm so saddened to hear of Ken's passing. I worked for him part-time one summer and he was such a kind and generous man. He always wanted to give people a chance. I was a struggling student then and my bike got stolen. As soon as he found out he took me to Canadian Tire and bought me a new one. He was such a unique and kind-hearted man, my deepest condolences to his family.

  • 03/11/2024

    May Christ lead you home to Heaven with a light to guide you Your friend Rosi Jackson

  • 11/08/2023

    Sincere condolences to the Pinto and Skeir families. Although I have not seen Ken for a while I do have fond memories of him and his involvements with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. A gifted artist and vibrant man whose legacy remains. R. I.P Ken. Peaceful comfort to his family during your time of grief. Blessings as you continue to cherish your memories of him. - Carolyn Thomas and family

  • 11/04/2023

    I shall miss you at my dinner table Kenny, on those special occasions. Taking you on errands, helping you out whenever you needed, and offering you a place to stay. The conversations we had!! However, it is your time to rest now, and I pray that we shell meet again in the sweet bye & bye. Love you cuz. To Billy & Bobby may you look to the Lord for comfort, remember he is no further then a thought away. Love & God bless. Cousin Alexa🙏❤️✝️

  • 11/04/2023

    Condolences to the Pinto and Itwaru family in the passing of Kenny, may he r.i.p., may God comfort you all during this time of sadness hugs xo Love Teena Adams -Soule Hamilton, Ontario

  • 11/04/2023

    I will always fondly remember Kenny and his outgoing personality . I would run into Kenny from time to time where we would talk at length. I always enjoyed some of the most intriguing concepts and interesting conversations . Rest in peace Cousin. Terry Brown and family.

  • 11/04/2023

    Our condolences to Mr Pinto's family and friends.

  • 11/04/2023

    Sincere condolences to the family. Thank you Ken for getting me involved in the Fringe Festival in 1994. Rest in Peace, power and praise Anne Johnson-Mcdonald

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