Obit: Ebben, Ronald J. (1932 - 2008)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Ebben, Herman, Badzinski, Schumacher-Slobodnik, McManus, Wimmer, Williams, Koepsell, Ryan, Kennedy, Boie, Lasage, Sneen, Kulovitz, Listecki, Grevatch, Wolf

----Source: Thorp Courier (Thorp, Clark Co., WI.) June11, 2008

Ebben, Ronald J. (18 June 1932 - 31 May 2008)

With Flag

Deacon Ronald J. Ebben, age 75, Wausau, died peacefully in his sleep, Saturday, May 31, 2008, at Cedar Creek Manor, Mosinee.

He was born June 18, 1932, in Thorp, Wisconsin, son of the late Harvey and Clara (Herman) Ebben. On August 20, 1955, he married Joanna Badzinski at St. Bernard Catholic Church, Thorp. Ron and Joanna were happily married for 52 years.

Ron was a veteran of the U. S. Army, serving during the Korean Conflict in Army Security in Alaska. Aided by the G.I. Bill, Ron received his Bachelors of Science and Master’s Degree from UW-Stout. He taught Industrial Arts at Webb High School in Reedsburg, WI from 1958-1962, and then at Mayville High School from 1962-1968. He and his family moved to Wausau in 1968 where he was employed as a Drafting and Design instructor at North Central Technical College until his retirement in 1985. Teaching and connecting with his students and fellow staff was one of his greatest satisfactions. In 1986 Ron was named Wisconsin Technical College Teacher of the year.

Ron was a man of deep faith which influenced every aspect of his life. Because of his association with the Franciscan Capuchians, he was greatly influenced by Franciscan spirituality. In the 1960’s he initiated a ministry to shut-ins at St. Mary’s Parish, Wausau. Along with his wife Joanna he served on the first lay board at St. Anthony’s Retreat Center, Marathon, WI, where they were also on the retreat team and with the Marriage Encounter program. Ron started an inter-faith Bible study for students and fellow teachers at North Central Technical College and helped to establish the first pre-marriage program in the Wausau Deanery. In 1980, Ron was accepted in the first formation class of permanent deacons for the La Crosse Diocese and was ordained in 1983 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Wausau, WI. His first deaconate ministry was at St. Mary’s Church under Father Fred Kulovitz. Later he worked at St. Anthony’s Retreat Center as a spiritual advisor and on various programs including Marriage Encounter. He also directed the Family Retreat program. He continued ministering to the sick and homebound, and performing baptisms (including five of his grandchildren). Ron was the first Deacon in the Wausau Deanery to witness marriages, also performing this rite for three of his own children and several nieces and nephews.

Ron served as a volunteer chaplain and bereavement minister for the Hospice Program at the Aspirus Hospital in Wausau. In 2004 Ron was awarded the Brother James Miller Diocesan award for his work to establish peace and justice. Ron and Joanna also traveled across the Dioceses giving family prayer talks.

He was recently acknowledged and congratulated by Bishop Jerome Listecki on the 25th anniversary of his ordination to the Order of Deacon. In the last several years when Ron’s mobility became limited, he continued what he called a "street ministry" by meeting with people on his daily walks and visits to the mall.

Besides his first and greatest love, his wife Joanna, Ron loved his children and grandchildren, and students. He loved designing, building and visiting the family cabin, gardening, daily walking and spending time at the YMCA, and simply talking to the people he met.

His last five months were spent in the gentle care of the staff at Cedar Creek Manor, Mosinee, WI.

Survivors include his wife, Joanna Ebben, Wausau; six children: Mary (Chuck) Schumacher-Slobodnik, Eau Clarie, WI, Tom (Brenda) Ebben, Lafayette, CO, Ann (Tim) McManus, Wausau, WI, Betty (Drew) Ebben-Wimmer, Clintonville, WI, Ellen (Bruce) Williams, Eveleth, MN, and Sara (Mark) Koepsell, Worthington, MN; 14 grandchildren: Amanda (Cullen) Schumacher-Ryan and Colin Schumacher, Christina and Michael Ebben, Eric and Allie McManus, Sam Wimmer, Charley Kennedy and Cooper and Sawyer Williams, Joe, Anna, Laura, and Ben Koepsell, and great-grandson Stuart Ryan. Ron is also survived by a brother, Len (Leta) Ebben, Abbotsford; a sister, Carol (Rich) Boie, Thorp; two sisters-in-law; Katie Lasage and Lorraine Ebben; one brother-in-law, James Sneen; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents Harvey and Clara Ebben, and siblings Cliff and Clay Ebben, and Rosanne (Ebben) Sneen.

The liturgy celebrating Ron’s life was at 5:30 p.m. Friday, June 6, 2008, at the Church of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Wausau. The Rev. William Grevatch and the Rev. Werner Wolf O.F.M. presided. Visitation was on Friday, June 6, 2008 from 3:30 p.m. until the time of services at the Church. Burial will take place at a later date. In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund will be established.

Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home, 1302 Sixth Street, Wausau is in charge of arrangements.



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