R. Kenneth Aber: A Tribute by Molly T. Marshall, President of Central Seminary

[R. Kenneth Aber, longtime member of First Baptist Church, Kansas City, MO, passed away on January 7, and his memorial service was held on January 13.]

Ken Aber was Central’s longest serving board member.  He began in 1974 and remained on the board until term limits were instituted in 2005.  He graciously agreed that he had served more than a full term, but after the required year, we invited him to return to the board. We knew that we needed him.

Wise, humorous, and blessed with a sonorous voice, his presence at a board meeting was a gift to the Central community.  No doubt, his long history with the school gave him perspective when we had hard decisions to make.  He knew about lean and leaner years.  (I am not too sure Central has ever had any fat years.) He would reflect on the faithfulness of God in past challenging times and was confident that we could persevere now.

Mr. Aber was a keen financial analyst.  His Harvard business degree was on display as he moved through the thicket of audits, balance sheets, loan documents, and banking arrangements.  Mr. Townsend, our current Treasurer has observed that we have not had a more skilled board member when it came to a thoughtful assessment of the seminary finances.

He would work through a thick packet of financials and come up with, “see here on page three is this number, and on page 37 is this number, the difference is the draw on endowed funds—is that right? Of course, he was right.  He was not averse to risk, and he would counsel strategic approaches to debt encumbrances or missional expansion. His wisdom was of great benefit to Central.

Finally, Ken was very encouraging to me personally.  A Renaissance man in many respects, he enjoyed my role as President and offered his support. It is a privilege to honor his memory and give thanks for his legacy in our community. As the writer of the Apocalypse put it, “His deeds accompany him.”  We give thanks for his life.

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