In Memoriam: Kenneth Franklin Essex (1943-2022)

We offer this memorial to share in our celebration of the life of our founder, partner, colleague, and friend, Ken Essex. Ken passed away on October 13, 2022, after a long and courageous battle with multiple myeloma. Strength and persistence were some of Ken’s many admirable qualities, and he showed it fighting his illness. When he was diagnosed with cancer in 2012, it was estimated that Ken had about 5 years to live. He doubled that.

Ken and Chan Richards founded our firm in 1976. There were only a couple attorneys in the early years, but largely through Ken’s leadership and planning, we have now grown to 18 attorneys. The philosophy and principles of our firm were derived from and nourished by Ken. He believed the practice of law included dealing with everyone with respect and professionalism. You advocate vigorously for your clients and you take a personal interest in them, their families, and their legal issues. You also take a personal and professional interest in your law partners and your professional support staff who assist you in the practice of a noble profession. Ken was the “Grandfather” of our firm, a mentor not only to his clients but to all of those around him. If anyone in the office had a problem, professional or personal, they would seek out Ken. Or, if Ken knew or suspected someone in the office had a problem, professional or personal, he would go to their office or invite them to his. Ken always seemed to have a calm about him and was a thoughtful listener. He was analytical and kind. Indeed, always kind. He dearly loved practicing law and helping people, and he was good at it, respected by clients, colleagues, opposing counsel, and the courts.

Ken was a lifelong democrat and was unceasingly loyal to and active in the party. However, in an example of the grace of his character, he would readily engage in any civil dialogue (think disagreement) with those around him of any point of view, always respectfully.

Ken was also well known for keeping his own “clock” or timetable. If a meeting was scheduled at the firm for 1:00, we were reasonably sure Ken would be there around 1:30. For Ken, half an hour late was fashionably on time. There’s a good chance he had been on a long phone call with a client or was revising an important estate document for the twentieth time, but it was often just Ken trying to stretch out the clock to cram even more life into his day.

Ken was an unfailingly kind and gentle voice, a mentor, a sage, a presence, an excellent lawyer and counselor, our partner and friend. We miss him greatly but will cherish and treasure the laughs, discussions, meals, cheap bourbons, and good times we shared with him for so long. The firm will, with gratitude, honor, and respect, continue to use our founding partner’s name in the firm’s name.

Please join the partners, associates, and staff of Essex Richards, P.A., as we salute and honor our “Ken.”