This past July, the SHARE Community lost a true friend in Ken Ebbe. A quiet mentor, Ken was always there to whisper wise counsel to many.
Ken served as SHARE President, 2002-2004, and as a volunteer, served many different roles, including: Member of the Technical Support Management Project, SHARE Senior Management Team, Board of Directors (Deputy Director, Operations; Director Member Relations & Sales; Director of Marketing; Director of Operations; Vice President, Immediate Past President), Finance & Audit Committee, Future Conference Committee, Nominating Committee.
In memory of Ken, members of the SHARE Community share some of their fondest memories of a man who was always there with his infectious smile, willing to help.
There are people who come and go in your life and there are those that make a mark. Ken Ebbe was the latter for me. I had the privilege of serving SHARE as its executive director for ten years and Ken Ebbe as its president from 2002-2004. For those that have been involved with SHARE for many years, you’d recall that Ken was easy to work with, respectful, funny yet challenging and demanding. He was always an optimist about SHARE and the things we were involved in. He and I shared a passion for working hard and having fun – let’s say business was definitely done over a beer and his wife Kathy was always by his side.
As a leader, Ken got others to rejoice in our progress as we were doing good things for SHARE and doing it with good people. He was one of a kind.
I lost a bet to Ken during a Bears/Packers rivalry game. Let’s say I had to wear an entire Packer uniform to an evening SHARE reception. It was a wonderful partnership, one that I will cherish.
Art Louise, SHARE past Board Member
Ken Ebbe, from the University of Wisconsin, passed away on July 8, 2017. During his time in the Department of IT at the U of W, he spent over 30 years involved in various volunteer activities associated with SHARE. Ken received his 1st ribbon in 1982 and was the President of SHARE from 2002 to 2004. Initially he was a member of the Technical Support Management (TSM) Project but because he was always good at seeing the bigger picture and coming up with unique & new ideas, it didn’t take him long to realize that TSM was not just about Technical Support but also about Systems Management. He introduced high level motivational speakers as well as seasoned consultants to integrate Technology and Management when many companies had not yet embraced such a philosophy.
Then in the early 90s he moved onto the SHARE Senior Management Team, and subsequently onto the Board of Directors as the Deputy Director of Operations. He also held Director positions in Member Relations & Sales, Marketing and prior being named Director of Operations. It was there that he implemented additional enhancements to Conference Operations. Previously sessions were scheduled by each Project and speakers generally spoke on individual topics. Soon Program Tracks were created and speakers and topics were comingled in various program tracks regardless of which project they were associated with. Ideally, an attendee could spend an entire day attending sessions in a particular program track, encompassing multiple projects, generally in the same location and not having to change rooms.
Following his service as Director of Operations, he served as Vice President and ultimately President of SHARE. Subsequent to his term as President, Ken, as Immediate Past President, both chaired the Nominating Committee and later in 2008 also participated as a volunteer member. He also was a member of the Finance & Audit and the Futures Committees following his term as President.
Ron Thielen, SHARE Past President
Paul's Neighborhood Bar is exactly what you picture it to be. It is a two room, one story building in Middleton, Wisconsin; a comfortable place filled with friendly people. It also happens to be just a few blocks from Ken and Kathy's house.
We arrived a few minutes past the hour when the celebration was set to start. The lot was already full, so we went to the school lot in the next block and it was already filling up too. When were got inside it was filled elbow to elbow. It would be an understatement to say that Ken had many friends.
We found Kathy and expressed our sorrow at Ken's passing, but Kathy made it clear this was a celebration. Ken wouldn't want anyone having anything other than a great time on this account. Kathy wasn't there with all these friends and family to be sad. She was surprised and delighted that some of Ken's good friends from SHARE from Ontario (Martin and Cathy Timmerman), Minnesota (Brian and Karen Peterson), and Illinois (Peggy and I) came to remember Ken and celebrate his life. We were just honored to be able to represent all Ken's many SHARE friends who wished they could but weren't able to be there. We passed along some remembrances that other SHARE friends had sent.
Many glasses were lifted, toasts given, and stories told. We watched a photo roll of Ken with his hunting and fishing buddies. It was loud, fun, and touching too. Everyone had a great time, and we were happy to have this time with Kathy, Jodi, Jennifer, and all Ken's other friends.
Ken was a beloved father, great friend to many at SHARE and even more elsewhere. He will be missed by all, and it's okay to be missed. Just remember that Ken would want you to celebrate the good times and not dwell on the sad parts.