December 31, 1950 ~ October 15, 2020

Born in: Nashville, TN
Resided in: Asheville, NC

Kenneth Pate Bain died on October 15, 2020 at the age of 69 from complications of dementia. He is survived by his wife, Karen, his three sons, Matthew, and wife Tracy, Eric, and John, his brother, David and wife Brenda.

Ken was born December 31, 1950 in Nashville, TN to Helen and D.F. Bain. He attended Overton High School. He met his future wife, Karen, while in high school and was happily married for 47 years. He graduated from Yale University, Connecticut College, earned a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from UNC-Chapel Hill, and went on to complete post-doctoral training in clinical neuropsychology at Braintree Hospital in Massachusetts.

Most of Ken’s career was spent working for Ohio Health/Riverside Hospital in Columbus, OH. He retired to Asheville, NC in 2015 to enjoy the mountains he always loved so much.

Ken always wanted to help others and make the world a better place. He accomplished this through his work in community mental health and as a neuropsychologist, treating many with brain injuries and dementia. He was a devoted husband and father. He loved to hike, garden, walk his beloved dogs, play games with family and bridge with friends, travel in the US and Europe, play basketball and racquetball, run, folk dance and ballroom dance with his wife. He was a proud band dad and a soccer coach for his sons, never missing a game.

He will be remembered for his concern for others, his silly sense of humor, love for his dogs, devotion to his family, and his desire for justice for all. He will be greatly missed.

There will be no services, but rather a family gathering out on the trail. Groce Funeral Home Tunnel Road is assisting the family.

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  1. It’s so hard to believe he’s gone! When we last backpacked with him, not so long ago, he was in such good shape.
    My favorite memory of Ken involves walking their dog Kira with him (when we visited them in NC). We would often meet people walking their dog. Invariably, he would strike up a conversation — with the dog as well as the person. Ken had a good heart.
    We and the dogs will miss him!

    Reply
    • Yes, Ken rarely met a stranger, dog or human. He had a knack for putting anyone at ease. He will be missed. Thanks for writing.

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  2. I knew Kenny in the 1970s when he was young and full of life, optimism, and a rather precocious wisdom. Apparently he remained so throughout his good life. Karen, you were lucky to have him as a husband and David, I imagine you could not have asked for a better brother. His was a life well-lived, and I am so glad I got to share a few years with him.

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    • Jenny, I was very lucky to be married to Ken. I know he always had fond memories of those days with his special group of friends. It is nice to hear from you. Thanks for writing.

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  3. It is with great sadness that I learned of Ken’s death this morning. I had the true pleasure of working with Ken for many years via the John J Gerlach Center for Senior Health where staff, patients and family benefited from his caring expertise. He was a remarkably kind, good-natured, patient, gentle man who couldn’t resist making the occasional pun during our conversations. Please accept my sincere condolences for the loss of this very special Ken with the hope that family will find some comfort and support through loving memories and friends.

    Reply
    • Kathryn, I think your description fits Ken perfectly. I know how much he enjoyed his work with patients and staff at the Gerlach Center. It seems like only yesterday he was still working there. I am just glad he was able to enjoy some mighty fine years here in North Carolina before this terrible disease took him away. Thank you for writing.

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  4. At the Gerlach Center Ken was always soft spoken, yet witty in conversation. His patients adored him and were so inspired by his kindness. I knew Ken mostly by “ passing him in the hallways”. A smile always graced him. Jean, RN Gerlach Center for Senior Health

    Reply
    • Jean, Ken did love his work and had great empathy for what his patients were dealing with. I think he was inspired by them as well. It has seemed especially sad that he was taken by the same disease that he had helped treat for so long. Thanks for writing.

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  5. I remember one beach weekend when we played 42 bridge rubbers on one afternoon. Ken was a wonderful person and the two of you were wonderful friends.

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    • Thank you, Marsha. We had some wonderful times together. I also remember some great hikes, “camping” in condos, putt-putt golf and the Doritos calling us between rubbers. Thanks for writing. Take care.

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  6. i was lucky to meet Karen and Ken at folkdance in 2015. Being a newbie, I was grateful for Ken’s lively encouragement, which he extended to others as well. What a great smile and who could ever forget that mischievous twinkle in his eyes? We would sing along to some of the tunes together while we danced. Ken was fun and made us happy. I will miss my singing dance buddy.
    My heart goes out to you, Karen, and to your family.

    Reply
    • Elizabeth, I will never forget those days either. I think some of our favorite folkdance tunes continued to bring him some joy in his last days. He kept on singing. Thanks for writing. I miss you too.

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  7. Ken (I’ll always think of him as Kenny) and I first met in the third grade at Glendale Elementary school and he continued to be one of my best friends through college and beyond. In our younger days we enjoyed having a war with plastic army men in his sandbox and building an actual (very small) hilltop fort in the woods between our houses. We were both part of the forensics team at Overton (Karen was on the forensics team at Madison) and enjoyed many fun and memorable trips and tournaments. As high school neared a close Ken, David, seven other friends and I formed a group and we spent almost all of our free time on summer breaks together.
    Beyond activities I’ll most remember Ken for the kind of person he was. I always marveled at his academic determination and knowledge. He was a friend that everyone could confide in and whose advice we relished. I remember his smile, his love of games and dogs. I don’t think he ever met a stranger he didn’t like.
    Even though we lost touch over the last few years I’ll always remember Ken as one of my closest and dearest friends. My condolences to Karen, David and the boys. I know this hasn’t been an easy journey for you.

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    • Mike, I heard many tales of those days in the sandbox. Ken never forgot and held you close in his heart. I am very glad to hear from you.

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  8. I think of the arduous five day hike in the Paria River Canyon and Ken barely breaking a sweat. The following year, when the disease was having a bit more of an impact on Ken, even still it was he who found the meandering trail through the rock slide and up the dark side of the Grand Canyon so that we could find a decent campsite to rest. Jim and I had been ready to give up and sleep at a 15 degree angle on a rock slab, but Ken found the way through. Just 15 months ago I remember a joyous and scenic hike up a mountain in British Columbia with the old racquetball crew. But mostly, I remember racquetball; every Friday morning at 6:00 am, for 17 years (and more than that for Ken, Jim and Kirby). Out of those thousands of games, Ken won so many for he was the gifted one; very difficult to beat because of his quickness; but it was impossible to care about not winning because Ken was so kind and so very gracious. That was my experience of Ken. Besides his remarkable intellect, and his athleticism, he was simply kind, friendly and gracious. I will miss him.

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    • Dwayne, thank you for these wonderful memories. (making me cry) You, Jim, Kirby and Ken were quite a crew! I can’t believe it was 17+ years of racquetball. He was indeed, kind and gracious. I am so glad you all made those hiking trips together. Thanks for writing.

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  9. I posted part of this remembrance on FB the day I learned about Ken’s (I called him Kenny) passing. There was a picture which I could not attach here that is briefly mentioned.

    We were ten nerdy kids who went to school together, some of us family, just happy to be part of “The Group.” We spent our late teens together during the summers and then part of our early 20s together in different and evolving mini-groups. We flirted with one another and a little more at various points in our early lives. And then some drifted apart from the others. I was one of those. But we never forgot our youth and our adventures. The guy with his comforting arm around me married his high school sweetheart, had kids, and initially became a psychologist. He was kind, funny, smart as a whip, and insightful. And thoroughly adult even as the rest of us were just finding out how to be one. Tonight an email passed among us. It notified us of his passing. Life is fickle and so so short. Kenny was the best of us.

    Reading this obituary fills in the information gaps I missed because I drifted apart from Ken and Karen. I see that Ken’s life was an absolutely marvelous one. Like my sister, Jenny, I wish we had known that he and Karen had moved to Asheville because we kept some NC ties. Karen, perhaps there will be a time when we can come to visit you. For now, I grieve for you and your family’s loss. I rail at life’s unfairness and taking Kenny far too soon. He lived life to the fullest and with his zest for adventure, his intellect, his kindness, and his love of justice, he seems to have graced the lives of many. I am happy I knew him because he helped me through a tough time with simple and healing words of wisdom. He graced my life too. So many of us appear to be the better for it. Thank you Kenny.

    Reply
    • Betty, I appreciate all your memories of the good old days. Ken did have a zest for life and especially loved those days of hanging out with “The Group”. His purpose in life was to be a good friend and do whatever he could to help someone else. He succeeded. A visit sometime would be nice.

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  10. I worked alongside Ken during his last few years at the Gerlach Center helping him stay organized and helping him with odds and ends. He was one of the kindest people I have ever met. He was such a huge blessing not only to his patients, but to all of us staff as well. His sweet spirit is still missed at Gerlach. Remembering your family during this time.

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    • Christa, I remember Ken talking about how much he appreciated your help at work. Hi-tech was not one of his strong points! But he was blessed with a very caring soul. Thank you for writing.

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  11. Ken was a great friend. Even as he was only in Muncie for a short time he was an important part of my life. His work at CMHS was caring and effective. We rode bikes and played Racquetball together. He was a good sport. He even graced me with going to a White Sox game with me. His time in Muncie and on our planet was too short. Professionally he always found ways to uplift me and tell of what I offered to him…while I thought of it the other way around. His sense of humor was great. Ken is missed.

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    • Bill, our years in Muncie may have been short, but they took up a huge space in Ken’s mind. I know he had great respect for your counsel and considered you to be a dear friend. He certainly will be missed. Thank you for writing. I know we will stay in touch.

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  12. Our family had so many wonderful gatherings with the Bains over the years. Ken was always central to the fun and good times…playing games, setting up the croquet in the backyard, taking walks with the dog and the kids.
    We’re all going to miss him terribly. I will always remember him in the kitchen, making pancakes or popcorn, or helping us find a microbrew in the fridge.

    Ken was a very unselfish individual, and displayed a lot of concern for everyone in the family, as well as for the community and world at large. Ken was a wonderful husband and father as well. Ken was rightly proud of his three sons, Matt, Eric, and John.

    Although he is gone far too soon, Ken made a large and positive impact through his work, and through his family.
    His departure is a great loss, but we will be inspired by the memory of his kindness, patience, humor, and devotion to family.

    Reply
    • Bill, these were all very special times to remember. Thank you. I know we will have many more family gatherings in the future, but they just won’t be quite the same without our Ken. I can just see him going “woo-woo” with Hugo the ghost when we played Midnight Party or making a killer shot while playing croquet. And remember the waffles too? His specialty! I hope to see you soon. Sending love to your family…

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  13. Karen- Ken was such a bright and witty addition to our staff in Muncie and is so fondly remembered all of these years later. He was always growing and learning and was such a caring person. Please know that my thoughts are with you in this time of your great loss.

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    • Mary Jo, I am pleased to hear from you. I am glad to know that Ken is remembered so fondly by so many people. Those were very special years that we spent in Muncie. Thank you for writing.

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  14. I’ll remember Ken as a sweet, loving man, who never failed to bring new people into our folkdance circle. He didn’t like to see anyone being left out. He always had a fond greeting for the female dancers, getting down on one knee and kissing their hands. Sending my deepest sympathy and love to Karen and her family as they go through this huge loss.

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    • Barbara, I would love to have him back, kissing hands and all. And you are right, he would never want to leave anyone out. We will miss him in the dance circle. Thank you so much for writing.

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  15. Karen:
    We will surely miss Ken’s loving spirit, and his fun loving way. I know that it has been rugged for you and your family for the last couple years, so our wish for you all is that through your grief, you will be able to remember the good times and his spirit. I will never forget how much fun we had being together, doing all kinds of things – soccer games, bridge, band concerts, jazz concerts, etc.
    We wish the best that can be at this difficult time.

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    • Becky and Jack, we did have some really great times at all those soccer games and band concerts. I fondly remember some crazy ping pong games with Kira as our ball catcher. Ken always loved our New Year’s/birthday celebrations too! Good memories. Thanks for writing.

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    • David and Renee, I do not know how to reach you, except for here. I hope you see it. Thank you so much for the beautiful flowers. It was nice of you to send them. They are greatly appreciated. I wish you the best.

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  16. I worked with Ken for many years, caring for shared patients. He was one the first individuals I coordinated with for compassionate , meaningful outcomes. Ken was unquestionably a genuine and caring man. His concern and qenuine and honest concern for our shared clients was sorely missed as he was moved to a remote location, allowing less personal interaction. Ken extended honest , professional support to me as a new professional, and as we grew to became concerned allies for our many shared clients. I’ve missed him for many more years than those that were to come. Kent

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    • Kent, thank you for sharing your work experiences with Ken. He did love his job and the people he worked with. It is nice to know he is remembered in this way.

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  17. I loved Kenny like a brother, from the the time we were 14 or 15, at Overton. We played ball, and talked politics and the meaning of existence; we went to concerts and rock festivals, where savage truths were revealed. Later, what great basketball we played at Woolen Gym, UNC, in the 70s, Tommy C. and John H. and Kenny and I – they called us the Blades – we played the beautiful game, all passing, sharp as knives. I lost touch with Kenny, and never knew his family. I weep for him now.

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    • Roy, it has been a long time and I am glad to hear from you. Ken always talked about those good old days with his basketball friends. We have three wonderful sons, but basketball was never their game. So Ken became an awesome soccer coach and their number one fan. We are all weeping for him now. Thanks for writing.

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  18. Karen,
    Don and I are so grateful to have known Ken. I worked with Ken for many years at the neurorehab center and can’t adequately relay the love and affection his clients had for him. As part of the team they often shared with me the gratitude they had for Ken’s empathy, compassion and clinical skills to help them cope with what to many was a devastating life event. I valued Ken’s clinical expertise and as importantly his friendship as a peer. Steady, reliable and predictable. Don respected Ken’s clinical judgement and always praised his thoroughness and expertise. We send our thoughts and prayers to you and your sons in your grief. We hope that knowing Ken is still a part of everyone’s life he touched and the memories you shared as a family are comforting.

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    • Marie and Don, I really appreciate hearing from you. Ken always valued your friendship as well. It was very painful to see his disease progress, but he continued to touch the lives of those who met him. He never lost that spark of caring for others. It is a comfort to remember that.

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  19. Karen, I just learned about Kenny today when I got on Facebook – I rarely do that anymore. I considered Kenny my best friend during middle and high school. I remember the debate trips together. I remember throwing the pass in the Grizzzard’s front yard that he batted down and then having to take him to the emergency room to have his broken finger looked at until he could get in touch with his parents. I remember the countless times Kenny, Mike Kidwell, and I played games or bridge or just hung out at each other’s houses. Kenny’s house and my house have both been torn down and newer and bigger homes have replaced them, but every time I visit the old neighborhood (I’m in Cookeville now) I remember the fun times we had there. I remember when Kenny first met you on one of those debate trips and how fondly he talked about you when you first started dating. I’m thankful for the many years you had together and the friendship we had many years ago.

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