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Leber has helped out in many ways at alma mater

By Norwalk Reflector Staff • Feb 1, 2018 at 2:00 AM

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third installment in a three-part series featuring this year’s Monroeville Hall of Fame inductees.

 

MONROEVILLE — Ken Leber was born in 1957 to Kathleen and Robert Leber. He is one of five children: his brothers are Tom, Len, Fred and Harold. Ken graduated from Monroeville in 1976.

Leber will be inducted as a community member into the Monroeville Hall of Fame Saturday along with Jerry Everhart and the 1978-79 girls’ basketball team.

He married his high school sweetheart, Jeanne Smith, in 1981. Jeanne is a retired school teacher. They are the parents of three sons — Matthew (1984), Kyle (1987) and Benjamin (1990). Matthew is married to Lindsay and together they have two children Samantha (4) and Jacob (2). Kyle lives near Dublin, Ohio and works as an accountant. Ben is a social worker and will marry Beth in December.

While attending Monroeville High School Ken participated all four years in football, basketball  and baseball. He also was a member of the National Honor Society and Future Teachers Association. His senior year he served as the class vice-president.

On the football field Leber was a three-year starter and letterman. He served as a co-captain in 1975. In 1974 he received the “Iron Man Award” and in 1975 was named “Outstanding Defensive Lineman.” He also was named All-Firelands Conference defensive lineman second team as a junior and first team as a senior. He also was named All-FC second team as a center his junior year and honorable mention as tight end.

Leber served as co-captain on the 1975-76 basketball team. It was a very successful team — conference, sectional and district champs — finishing 22-2. The Eagles lost in the regional finals by one point.

In baseball he was a three-year letterman where he primarily played third base. In 1976 he received the “Highest Batting Average Award.”

After high school Leber attended Bowling Green State University (1976-80), graduating Cum Laude with a bachelor's degree of education in recreation administration. He was vice-president of the Recreation Honorary (Alpha Lamda Omega) as a junior and president as a senior. In 1980 he was the recipient of the Dr. Andrews-Dr. Hooley Award given to the outstanding graduate in the Department.

In 1979 he received a scholarship from the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association and in 1980 was asked to speak at its annual conference. Leber was selected as the lone student to sit in on a search committee of the BGSU Chair for Health Physical Education and Recreation in 1979. While attending BGSU he worked in the student recreation center.

Upon graduation from college in 1980 he was employed by the city of Norwalk Parks & Recreation Department as a supervisor and counselor. In 1981 he was promoted to assistant superintendent. By 1997 he was the superintendent of the department and responsible for managing a $1.5-million budget. A million dollars was generated annually through fees and charges from programs and facilities.

His staff included nine full-time and nearly 100 part-time workers. They maintained more than 15 parks and a state of the art community and aquatic center. As the superintendent, he was instrumental in the design, planning and development of the Ernsthausen Community Center and Ernsthausen Aquatic Center. Eight new parks, including Bill Baines Park — the premier softball venue in this part of the state — Suhr Park and the Sofios Soccer Complex were added during his tenure. He was the city liaison and board member of the Lefty Grove Baseball League from 1998 to 2011. He retired from the department in 2011.

In his spare time Leber kept busy volunteering. In 1977-78 he was the summer recreation program director for the village of Monroeville and he developed, organized and implemented sports programs for youths 6 to 16. He also promoted and raised funds to build the second tennis courts at Marsh Field.

He served as assistant football coach for Steve Ringholz from 1978 to 97 — his first year as a line coach for the school's first undefeated team. The following years he helped as a game coach in the booth. From 1974 to 79 he officiated and supervised the winter basketball program at Monroeville for 80 youths. He coached most of his boys’ activities in the Lefty Grove League, Park & Rec and the travel leagues.

He has been a board member of the Norwalk Area United Fund for more than 20 years. He served as vice-president in 2009 and president in 2010. He was awarded the initial John A Elmlinger Extra Mile Award in 2016. He started the "Dine Out For the FUNd of It" program that to date has provided nearly $25,000 into the agency's coffers.

Leber is a member of the Norwalk Area Lions Club — serving as president in 2013-14 and again in 2018-19. He served as vice-president in 2012-13 and 2017-18. He was recipient of the "Melvin Jones Fellow" for dedicated humanitarian service in 2014-15.

He served on the Firelands Chapter of the Red Cross from 2011-15.

Leber volunteered as a member of the MAC Finance Committee. He identified and recruited alumni to serve a vital role in raising more than $1.4 million in pledges to match the incredible gift of a donor. This led to the construction of the MAC, a most amazing accomplishment for a small community. He then took it upon himself to develop a petition, obtain signatures and lobbied the board of education to name the basketball court the "Steve Moore Court" to honor alumnus Steve Moore, who has enjoyed a very successful career as a college basketball coach.

Leber now is president of Tazwire Technologies, a company that provides Wi-Fi to multi-dwelling communities. He and Jeanne reside in Norwalk.

The ceremony will take place Saturday in the cafeteria. Doors will open at 4 p.m. with the dinner beginning at 4:30. Tickets are on sale in the high school athletic office for $15 a person. The evening will consist of dinner and the induction of the 2018 class of the Monroeville Hall of Fame. As this is the 10th year of the Hall of Fame, prior to the start of the boys’ basketball game there will be a small ceremony recognizing the inductees from the past nine years. The evening will conclude with the introduction of the class of 2018 at halftime of the varsity boys’ basketball game vs. Mapleton.

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