It is with great sadness and regret that I have to inform you of the passing of Ken Draper. Former President and Life Member of V.I.L.A., Ken passed away on 12th January 2015,KEN in Canberra.

The funeral service was held on Thursday 22nd January 2015 at The Napier Park Chapel, Bendigo.

Heather Adamson
Secretary VILA

Photo:  John Childs presenting Ken Draper with Life Membership.



We have received the wonderful, heartfelt Eulogy given by Bill Crotty on behalf of the laundry industry at Ken’s funeral service, and share this with you below.



My name is Bill Crotty and I am honoured today to be able to speak on behalf of Ken’s laundry industry colleagues about his nearly 25 year involvement in linen and laundry management.
Ken’s original appointment at Loddon Linen Service with Bendigo Health was as Assistant Manager in 1991. In 1995 he was appointed Linen Service Manager, a position he held until the Service was closed in 2012.
Like many of us here today, I got to know Ken through work where he was an extremely helpful and giving industry colleague and I know I speak for all of his colleagues when I say how very much he will be missed. I’m glad to have this opportunity to share just a few of my memories of Ken with you.


During Ken’s time, the Loddon Linen Service saw many changes ; not the least being the takeover of several Melbourne metropolitan hospitals following the closure of the Royal Melbourne Hospital Central Linen Service. This brought about tremendous benefits for the region and Bendigo Health. There were many employment opportunities created during this time which perhaps were forgotten in later years.
One of the best things about having Ken as a colleague was that he was always prepared to give you a hand – something I’ve been grateful for myself on numerous occasions, and I know I’m not alone in that. Whenever in our businesses we needed to check some data or information we knew that Ken would have it; and, that he would share what he had with you. Whether you were another laundry operator, a textile supplier, a chemical supplier or a truck salesman, Ken would give you his time.
Just having Ken around made you feel better, whatever the challenge, and we all got to know his quick smile and ever ready words of encouragement. Many colleagues enjoyed his company over a cup of tea in Bendigo.
“Legacy” is a very over-used word these days; it seems that everyone and everything has to have one – but with Ken it’s true; he has left behind a very real legacy, which will affect the way we do things within our laundry industry for a very long time to come.
Ken was a key contributor to the Codes of Practice for Healthcare Operated Laundries and Linen Services in 2012. This document is now the cornerstone of measuring compliance within our industry. He was an extremely active participant in our industry association. The Victorian Institutional Laundries Association; VILA, was recognised worldwide for the seminars that operated. Ken was President of the Association on several occasions and a member of the Executive team for many years. He brought about some innovative sessions to our seminars which enhanced our industry standard.


He made us remember that our people were a measure of our business success. He made us think about how we should lead not just manage. Rudy Giuliani was a highly successful Mayor of New York, in his book on leadership style he suggested that “One of a leaders responsibilities is to meet the needs of those he leads. The point is not to alter the message depending on the audience, but to present it so that it could be understood by whomever was listening.”
Ken had the ability to present the message to whomever he spoke to; whether it was discussing a contract negotiation with a client, or, managing staff expectations, he adapted to his leadership task in a memorable way. To his friends and colleagues he was such a nice, soft-spoken man, with a ready smile for everyone.
Ken had the difficult task of firstly defending the continuity of the Loddon Linen Service business; then when all was lost, he set about managing the process to achieve the best outcome for staff, and the healthcare group. No one would have criticised him for cracking it and moving on; however, that wasn’t Ken’s way and he stuck to sorting everything out. He was loyal. He never told employees, one thing and colleagues and bosses something else.
Ken was a compassionate man, his leadership amongst the Bendigo Health staff during Peter Phillips illness was inspiring. Never did he let his emotions get in the way of comforting others.
On a personal level, every one of us who knew Ken and worked alongside him whether things were going well or badly will remember him with great affection.
As much as we may like your work, it’s the people that you meet in it that really matter and colleagues like Ken are something very special; you don’t come across many of them and when you do, they leave a lasting impression. Ken, we’re really going to miss you.
I’m sure many of you whether it be family, friends, work or industry colleagues will remember his analytic mind, his listening attitude, his honesty, his compassion, his loyalty, his humour. A reputation for only a few of these virtues is in itself a good fortune for his family.
But I wanted this group gathered together in his memory to know that we, his friends in the laundry industry also knew Ken as more than a dedicated professional. We loved a genuinely warm individual—one we will miss greatly.