A Mote Donor Cast in Concrete
He's not a statue, but a real live Canadian whose professional life was all about concrete— from his first job to his last job some 40 years later.
Ken Rear was raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, and graduated from the British Columbia Institute of Technology as a civil engineer in technology. He started with a building materials company in Vancouver working with concrete. While in Vancouver he married his lovely wife, Sheila, and they had a son and a daughter. Years later, he moved with his family to Boston where he worked with another company in chemicals for concrete. His final job was with a cement manufacturer in Atlanta as Vice President and Director of Research. He also became an organizer of an international conference of cement scientists, an activity in which he is still involved. So, where and how did Ken connect with Mote and marine science?
Ken was fascinated by marine life from the earliest: first, in the aquariums in Vancouver and Seattle, and later those in Boston and Atlanta. As a youngster in Vancouver he went scuba diving in the cold waters of Georgia Strait and played footsie with giant octopus. Ten years before retirement, he and Sheila bought a vacation house on Anna Maria Island just to be near the sea. There they came to know of Mote the way so many people do— as Aquarium visitors. In 2007, free of paid work, Ken became a volunteer Aquarium guide. Encouraged by Volunteer Coordinator Lisa Kinsella, Ken says "Those marine science courses that new guides are required to take really hooked me."
Today, he also helps with taking care of the animals, including Taz, an orphaned dolphin that had a short stay in Mote's animal hospital. Ken feels strongly that Mote's seven research centers, the Aquarium and the Education Division are all deserving of more support than just his donation of time. That's why he has made a direct bequest to Mote in his final will and testament. Ken says, "I'll do what I can to protect marine life while I'm still around, and my money will help when I'm gone".