(July 24, 1928-June 8, 2019)
Reverend Kenneth Harris Ribe
Reverend Kenneth Harris Ribe, age 90, went to be with his Heavenly Father on Saturday, June 8, 2019
surrounded by his family. He was born July 24, 1928 in San Antonio, Texas to Otto E. and Viola (Crowell) Ribe.
Ken received his Bachelor of Science in Physics May 1948. He also earned a Master’s Degree in Physics January
1952, both from The University of Texas. He was a member by invitation only of Sigma Pi Sigma Honorary
Society for Physics majors.
Ken married his high school sweetheart, Bernice E. Smith, on September 1, 1949. They would have been
married 70 years this September. They raised two children, Rick and Bonnie.
After college he was employed by Humble Oil and Refining Company as a Research Engineer in Houston, Texas
for eight years. He had a calling to leave this career to become a Lutheran minister. He received his Bachelor
of Divinity Cum Laude May 1963 from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina.
Ken and his family moved to Fort Worth, Texas where he was pastor at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church for five
years. In 1968 the family moved to Lake Jackson, Texas where he served at Christ Lutheran Church for eight
years. In 1976 Ken and Bernice moved to Katy, Texas where he was the Mission Developer of Living Word
Lutheran Church which has become the largest Lutheran church in the Texas Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod,
Ken was asked to assist the Dallas/Ft.Worth Head of the Ministerial Alliance at the funeral of Lee Harvey
Oswald. He served many years on the Staff at Lutherhill Youth Camp. He was very active with the Seafarer’s
Center at the Port of Houston and served on the board for a number of years.
Ken was an avid Texas Longhorn sports fan. He and Bernice were football season ticket holders with their son
for many years. They had the privilege to attend the 1963 and 2005 National Championship games. He
enjoyed vacations with his family every summer, particularly to Creede, Colorado where he loved to fish for
Rainbow Trout. Ken and Bernice have been in every state in the USA. They also enjoyed international travel
especially to the Holy Land and to Martin Luther Country.
After retirement Ken served as interim pastor of eight churches and also did various preaching appointments.
He and Bernice always looked forward to their monthly Retired Lutheran Pastors Lunch Bunch gatherings. As a
member of Christthe Servant he has sung in the choir and assisted Pastor Jim Giannantonio as needed.
Family time was very important to Ken. He especially loved all the many times he got to spend with his
Grandkids and later his first Great-grandchild.
Preceded in death by his parents, Otto and Viola Ribe and one brother Marshall Ribe. Survived by his beloved
wife, Bernice, son Richard Ribe (Gwen), daughter Bonnie Novosad (David) and brother Fred Ribe. Six
Grandchildren; Kate Ribe Clements (Ross), Paul Ribe (Kaitlyn), Blake Novosad, Keith Ribe (Carlisle), Brooke
Novosad Sterzinger (Matthew), Benjamin Kenneth Ribe and Great-grandson Cole Sterzinger.
Memorial service with Bishop Rev. Mike Rinehart Presiding Minister, and Pastor Jim Giannantonio as Liturgist
will be held Sunday, June 23, 2019 at 3:00 PM at Christ the Servant Lutheran Church, 2400 Wilcrest, Houston,
Texas 77042. A reception to follow to meet with the family. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in
Pastor Ken’s name to Christ the Servant Lutheran Church.
Pastor Ribe’s memorial service was held on July 23, 2019 at Christ the servant Lutheran Church. This was one day before 10 would be 91 years old. Pastor Jim Giannantonio and I presided.
Pastoral intern Jason Thomas and a battery of volunteers helped out.
John Krueger and Pam Tamburello provided musical leadership.
I am grateful for the ministry of Pastor Ken Ribe, and all
who dedicate their lives to the proclamation of the love of God as seen in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.
Bachelors of Science in Physics, Masters in Physics he worked for Humble Oil Company, before deciding to go to Southern Seminary.
- St. Matthews in Fort Worth 1963-1968.
- Christ Lake Jackson 1968-1976.
- 1976 Mission Developer for Living Word, Katy for a decade
- and a half before retirement.
He did many interims in retirement, and was an active
member of the retired pastors, deacons and spouses group.
Pastor Jim Giannantonio says Ken and Bernice joined Christ the Servant in August 1992. He preached at Christ the Servant once in a while. Sang in choir. Was one of the cantors.
Pastor George Brookover says Ken was a senior when George was a junior, but 10 years older than George. George says he was so loyal to UT he bled orange.
Paul Blom, our former bishop wrote to me, “Ken was one of the “solid” pastors I was privileged to serve with. He was always a strong advocate of the mission of the church. He had a heart for the those in need. His passion and compassion worked side by side. I really appreciated serving with him.”
Pastor David Roschke says Ken was an active and annual participant in Confirmation Camp at Lutherhill for the Houston week. He and other pastors would team-teach in the mornings. The kids got acquainted with other Lutheran kids from Houston. During the week, we’d generally have a pastors’ musical act in the talent shows. Ken Ribe was a fabulous tenor! He did an amazing “Danny Boy.” Ken and Bernice were/are faithful and good people who love Christ and Christ’s church.
The family remembers Rainbow Trout fishing in Colorado. Seafarer’s golf tournament every year we played in.
Bernice says she was raised Lutheran by her parents. Ken was Presbyterian when they were married. He started going with her. Ken said he wanted to become a Lutheran. They joined St. James in Oak Forest.
Then Ken came home from working at Exxon one day and out of the blue and said, “I want to go to seminary and do what Pastor Dell Dolton is doing.” They sold their house and second car and headed for Columbia South Carolina.
Rick said the kids enjoyed seminary. Made a lot of friends wherever we went.
Bernice: They were always a couple. Did everything together. She was involved in women’s groups. Suppers. A lot of hospital visits with him. Funerals or weddings. He enjoyed his work.
Rick: Dad enjoyed his work. Living Word: Dad just went out and knocked on doors. No list. No nothing. Just cold calling.
Rick: Dad told me 7-8 years ago, “I’m not afraid to die. In a strange kind of way, I’m kind of looking forward to it to see how it all works. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in a hurry. Just curious.”
Bernice: We were high school sweethearts. Knew each other 75 years. We dearly, dearly loved each other. I will miss him desperately. But he was getting weaker. It was his time.
For each of us, this day comes. And how shall we greet it? What shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? Will we trust? Will we fear?
We proclaim the good news that Ken proclaimed and to which he dedicated his life. We heard this good news in Romans 8: that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.