Kenneth Francis Hibbard

In Remembrance
June 22, 1948 - January 23, 2023

Obituary

Ken was born on June 22, 1948 to Marjorie and Harold Hibbard and grew up in Billerica, Massachusetts, where he was raised with his younger siblings Dick, Kevin, and Susan.

Ken graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. A first generation college student, he worked his way through UMass, earning a degree in sociology while fostering a lifelong love of classical music and surviving on a diet rich in Spam, which he grew to hate but was what he could afford.

Ken became interested in computer programming, a perfect match to his logical and fastidious mien. He proceeded to work in the industry for more than 30 years. Always committed to his work, he was a leader of people and cared deeply for his colleagues, continuing friendships with many of them over decades and into his retirement.

In his moves and travels around the world, he retained a deep commitment to his New England roots, closely following Boston sports teams and was often seen in a Red Sox baseball cap.

In 1983 while still in Massachusetts, he married his wife Nora and became a loving and supportive father to three children: Ashley, Chris, and Andrew. He was steadfast in his commitments to serving the community and people, always placing his family first. He was often found on the sidelines of his children’s sporting events, assisting with homework, nourishing educational and career opportunities, entertaining political conversations, and offering financial advice. This deep love was passed on to his grandchildren, Fiona and Walker, whom he adored. A relentless planner and organizer, he spent his final days ensuring the wellbeing of his family, leaving behind spreadsheets to help budget and ensure that his frugality would live on.

He relished in the wealth of higher education institutions in the Triangle area, frequently attending concerts and lectures in addition to serving on the strategic advisory board for North Carolina State University’s computer science program. In his retirement, he became a dedicated student at Duke’s continuing education (OLLI), learning about astrophysics and organic chemistry. He was deeply engaged in politics and, despite a usual stoicism, was activated by political discussion and engaged in voter outreach efforts to promote election participation. He believed in a balanced political system but was an avowed socially liberal Democrat.

He balanced his life between intellectual and physical pursuits. He loved sailing, was a lifelong runner, avid tennis player, and found a passion for road cycling with the Carolina Tarwheels, which became a source of many important friendships.

Ken volunteered to support bike advocacy and safety and to fundraise for public television. He also joined the Durham County Master Gardeners Association, dedicating many hours to volunteering for the organization.

Through his life, he was constant, courageous and upbeat. Even as he struggled through five years of pancreatic cancer, he remained positive, calling his diagnosis a “bump in the road” and refusing to let it derail all the things in life he loved most: his wife, family, friends, learning, and exercising.

Ken is survived by his wife, Nora, and their three children: Chris, Andrew, and Ashley, son-in-law Chris, and grandchildren Fiona and Walker as well as his siblings Dick, Kevin, and Susan their spouses, and many nieces and nephews. A special gratitude is extended to Dr. E. Halperin in addition to his medical team at Duke: Dr. D. Hsu, C. Tashie, Dr. P. Allen, and Duke Hospice and Homecare, especially Bobbie Scott.

In keeping with his interests in sustainability and the environment, he was aquamated by Endswell and his ashes have been buried at Bluestem Conservation Cemetery in Cedar Grove, NC. A memorial service honoring his life will be held at the Chapel Hill Country Club on March 5, 2023 at 3 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Durham County Master Gardeners (accepted by mail: 721 Foster St, Durham, NC 27701) and World Central Kitchen.