Kenneth A. “Ken” Birne, Esq., 64, passed away peacefully on July 1, 2020, surrounded by his loving family, following a courageous six-month battle with pancreatic cancer.
A longtime resident of Beachwood, Ken was originally from Tenafly, N.J. Ken was a proud member of the Tenafly 100 Marching Band and performed at the Rose Bowl Parade in 1973. As an avid Boy Scout, Ken traveled to the World Jamborees in Idaho and to Mt. Fuji, Japan.
He attended The Ohio State University, and graduated with a B.A. in political science. There he met his lovely wife, Pamela Beth (Ross) Birne, and served as president of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity, Nu chapter. Ken then attended Case Western Reserve University School of Law, during which time he married Pam and graduated with a J.D. degree in 1981.
Initially, Ken opened his personal injury law practice. In 1984, Ken met attorney Richard Peltz, and together they formed a law firm, Peltz & Birne, LLC, beginning a lifelong professional relationship practicing auto and job injury law. As the firm’s trial attorney from 1984 to 2000, Ken devoted his life to his work. He became a distinguished legal expert in the field of pediatric drowning, and represented several high-profile cases in this area of the law. He was a highly-respected mentor and peer, and his brilliant legal mind remained razor sharp up until his passing.
Ken was a great husband and father, as well as a proud and devoted “Papa,” to his three beautiful granddaughters. He loved good food and drink, tinkering around the house, and watching Buckeyes’ football games. Ken was also a member of University Heights Masonic Lodge No. 738 F.&A.M. in Lyndhurst. Ken drew inspiration from his late father, Al, who taught Ken, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
Ken is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 39 years, Pam, who provided him with immense strength during his illness. She was his rock, soul mate, BFF, and the driving force behind his fight for survival. Ken is also survived by his three beautiful children, Jenna Ottenheimer (Scott) of Northbrook, Ill., Allison Zofan (Gilli) of Bexley, Ohio, and Jonathan Birne of Beachwood. Ken also leaves behind his loving mother, Rita M. Birne, and the late Alvin A. Birne, of Tenafly, his beloved sister, Wendy Osur (Stan) of Tenafly, and by his beloved brother Robert (Cindy) Birne, Esq. of Dallas. Ken sadly will be missed by his beautiful granddaughters, Maya Ottenheimer, Noa Ottenheimer, and Livia Zofan, who brought him so much joy. Ken also leaves behind many nieces and nephews. Ken was loved by many. Last but not least, Ken loved his dogs, Wilson and Cooper.
Special thanks to Dr. Eric Yasinow and Dr. David Bajor, and the University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center, who helped Ken battle his illness with care, compassion and professionalism. Thanks also to Rabbi Moshe Gancz of Fromovitz Chabad Center for his weekly love, guidance, wisdom and prayer.
Services were held graveside July 3, at Bet Olam Cemetery (Chagrin Boulevard and Richmond Road).
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Keshet Chicago (keshet.org, 847-205-1234) or to Fromovitz Chabad Center in Beachwood.