Kevin’s family invites the Arcata community to join them in celebrating Kevin’s life and service to our country.
Kevin was killed in action on 24 November 2012 while supporting combat operations as a combat corpman/medic in Southern Afghanistan. Kevin was attached to SEAL Team Four.
The service for Kevin was held at the base chapel and was extremely well attended. Estimates were that up to 1,000 people may have attended.
The chapel seats 750 people and the place was overflowing with standing room only. I would estimate that at least 250 to 300 people were standing along the back, sides and front of the chapel. It was very moving to see and also to attend.
Following are notes I used as a guide when it was my turn to speak. Several of Kevin’s teammates and childhood friends got up to speak too.
Two days ago I received a text from Kevin’s stepfather Mark Ritz asking if I would be able to get up and speak at this memorial service. I texted back that I would try. Within a few minutes I texted back to Mark saying that it would be my honor and privilege to do so. So here I am today, standing before you, and in doing so I am very honored and privileged to be here to talk a little bit about Kevin.
So today I will briefly talk about Kevin Ebbert, my nephew. The son of a former SEAL, the nephew of a former SEAL, and a warrior and SEAL in his own right. He is also a husband, a son, a brother, a cousin, an uncle, a very special human being, a friend to many, and last but not least . . . a warrior.
I’ll tell you first about Kevin Ebbert the non-warrior.
Something many of you may not know is that Kevin was an extremely accomplished musician. Kevin could read, write and often composed music. The music you are listening to today was composed and played by Kevin for a college recital. He seemed to be as comfortable with the piano as he was the guitar, but his true love was the guitar.
Kevin would play for his family at many family gatherings. Normally urged & prodded to do so by his Aunt Mary. Most memorable for me though was when he played for his grandmother Pat, my mother. She loved Kevin so much you could see the pride bursting out of every pore she had.
Kevin loved classical music and light jazz. He would listen to it and play it often. He received bis bachelors degree in music from UC Santa Cruz prior to joining the Navy.
Kevin was also an accomplished artist. At our home in Scottsdale I noticed that if there was a piece of paper, and a pen or pencil laying around, Kevin would be doodling or sketching. What . . . I don’t specifically recall, but I wish I had a few of those doodles now. He also always took time to draw with his younger cousin Georgia who now is just 6 years old, going on 7.
I think what I may remember most about Kevin though is that he was an avid reader, and most importantly a thinker. He never spoke before thinking about what he was going to say.
One evening at our home I walked into Kevin’s room to say good night. He was staying with us on the weekends while he was training in Marana, Arizona, about an hour south of our home. I noticed 3 books on his bedside table. One was written by Voltaire, one by Chaucer, and one was poetry. As I walked in he took his I-Pod ear plugs out and I could make out the sound of classical music. If I recall correctly, I think it was Vivaldi playing. That’s the Kevin I will always remember…
What many of you may not know is that on Thanksgiving day many in our family were fortunate in that we got to speak with Kevin via FaceTime. We all heard the news that evening that Kevin had been accepted into medical school. Kevin then informed us that he would be released from the Navy early so he could start school on time.
It appeared that Kevin was on his way to much bigger and better things that would help not only himself and his family, but many more people that he would come into contact with in the future as medical patients.
In this building are many of you that loved and knew Kevin the most, and those that cared about him the most; his wife Ursula, his mother Charlie, his sister Samantha, his step father Mark and many other family members . . .me included. And what I do know is that Kevin was many things to many people, kind, gentle, quiet, never obtrusive, never over bearing, never sarcastic, always polite,and always a gentleman to anyone that he knew, loved, cared about, or came in contact with on a day to day basis…
In ending let me read what I received in recent e-mails from family members and friends.
Kevin’s uncle, Joel Rice, in Sacramento California said,
“I pray for a world where there is no need for war, as it is so damaging and the damages are so far reaching. It goes without saying that we are all forever in Kevin’s debt, but I for one will look forward to the day when such sacrifice will not be be necessary”.
My friend, Scott Knauer, in Phoenix Arizona said,
“Make no mistake Kevin was a warrior, and as a Navy SEAL, distinguished himself in battle, but Kevin’s real dream was not to take lives, but to save them. This is exemplified in his duties as a corpsman and his acceptance into medical school at Old Dominion University just one day before his passing. This was to be his last deployment.
Unfortunately his life was taken before he could pursue his true passion . . . healing others. My thoughts and prayers are with Kevin, Ursula, Charlie, Samantha, Mark and the rest of your family and friends.”
I would ask that each of you remember that every statistic, every young man and woman killed in action, is someone’s husband, son, grandson, brother, sister, niece, nephew, cousin, neighbor and friend. The world is a better place because Kevin lived, and it is a lessor place with him gone. Kevin loved his country and his family, and he was loved by all who knew him, he will be sorely missed and live in my, and others. hearts forever.”
And finally, another friend of mine, John Seger, of Phoenix Arizona, a combat wounded Army veteran of the Vietnam war, had this to say,
“Let me ask that tomorrow all of us take a minute out of our day and ask that Kevin be welcomed into a place where there will be no more war or death, or tears, or pain, and where Kevin will be welcomed as the selfless hero that he is. We are free because of men like Kevin.”
Kevin’s local obituary in the Times-Standard news is here.
Our kind acknowledgment goes to Jim Ebbert for his words we shared allowing others to know more about Kevin. Thank you. We offer our sincere sympathy and condolences to the Ebbert family for their loss of a loved son and husband, an Arcata native with many, many friends.
(Posted by Skippy Massey)