Willard Ahenakew

Obituary of Willard Ahenakew


Willard Ahenakew was born on the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation on January 24, 1942.  He attended high school in Kinistino, where he met his future wife, Sheila Howe.  They married in 1966 and were blessed with a daughter Holly and son Lee.  They resided in the Prince Albert area their entire marriage including 50 years on their acreage east of Prince Albert.

Willard was a self taught and renowned Plains Cree artist.  His first professional job was at CKBI television station drawing the advertisements for TV commercials.  He worked at the “Saskatchewan Indian” newspaper as the editor, reporter, and political cartoonist.  He published a cartoon book on Indigenous political issues which was the first of its kind and unique in its use of comedy.  He became the founding President of the National and Saskatchewan Indian Arts and Crafts Corporations for Indigenous fine arts and crafts.  This provided the ability for artists to earn a good steady income and market their craft internationally, included the first moccasin manufacturing line and several “Indian Trader” retail stores.

Willard was passionate regarding his work with Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation including designing the flag, artwork for the new school and supporting its development, and managing a project to publish the history book “Ahtahkakoop”.  He also created and self-published a series of Indigenous fine arts prints loved by many!  He created many Indigenous themed logos commercially and donated his talents to friends and family.   Willard supported the music industry through art and design and was honoured recently by the Saskatchewan Indigenous Music Association, naming the newly created lifetime achievement award “The Willard Ahenakew Award”.  He was a devout Christian and attended the Crossroads Pentecostal Church.  On top of his impressive resume of achievements, he also was known as many things - dad, uncle and his favourite- mosom. He was loved by many.  He’ll always be remembered for his lightheartedness, tenderness, and for being the stealer of noses. His 2 grandsons, the loves of his life, Will & Cole Ahenakew, have the greatest guardian angel in Mosom.  He was an Uncle and Mosom to many and loved by all.

Willard is lovingly remembered by his loving wife, Sheila Ahenakew; his children, Holly Ahenakew, Lee Ahenakew; his grandsons, Will Ahenakew, Cole Ahenakew; special nephew and helper, Kevin Peekeekoot; numerous nephews, nieces, and other relatives.  He was predeceased by, his parents, Frank, and Ida Ahenakew; his sisters, Margaret Gardiner, Marjorie Bighead, Violet Vandall, and Dorian Peekeekoot; his brothers, Herman Ahenakew and Charlie Ahenakew; his mother and father-in-law, Earl and Odny Howe

Wake Viewing will commence at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 29, 2023, at PAGC Cultural Centre, formerly Parkland Hall, 2300 9th Ave W, Prince Albert, SK. Funeral Service will be held at 1:30p.m. on Thursday, November 30, 2023, at Crossroads Pentecostal Assembly, 1510 Olive Diefenbaker, Prince Albert, SK. 

Memorial donations in Willard’s memory may be directed to, Pine View Terrace, 1200 A 24th St. W, Prince Albert, SK., S6V 4N9.  Family and friends wishing to send online condolences are welcome to visit www.beaulacfuneralhome.com.  Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Beau “Lac” Funeral Home and Crematorium, Marianne Turcotte, Funeral Director, Prince Albert, SK 306-763-3322.




4:30 pm
Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Prince Albert Grand Council
2300 9th Ave West
Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada

Funeral Service

1:30 pm
Thursday, November 30, 2023
Crossroads Pentecostal Assembly
1510 Olive Diefenbaker Drive
Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada
Funeral Service
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