In Loving Memory

John R. “J.R.” Ebbitt

June 12, 1960 - March 16, 2024

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John Richard Ebbitt, also known as “J.R.” to his family and friends, passed away on Saturday, March 16, 2024, at the age of 63. He was born on June 12, 1960 in Braddock, Pennsylvania to John and Jane Ebbitt.

J.R. graduated from the University of Dayton and paid 100% of his way through his undergraduate program. Getting his B.S. in marketing in 1982, he joined Bonbright Distributing in Dayton, Ohio. In 1984 he married Katheirne Ullman and continued at University of Dayton to complete his MBA in December 1985. During his college days, as well as high school, JR was a great Rugby player. He was so good that he was being scouted by professional teams as was even contacted by the New Zealand All Blacks team.

In 1985, at 29 years old, Bonbright purchased a small distributorship in Virginia. The owner turned that over to J.R. as President and he and Kathy moved to Virginia. J.R. turned the distributorship around so quickly, Bonbright bought a second distributorship a year later in Danville, Virginia, which sold during a Miller Brewery Consolidation of their wholesale network.  He was also a member of the Virginia Beer & Wine Wholesalers.

J.R. was a self-made man who lived his life with intensity and passion in everything he set his mind to, and worked to achieve success in whatever he chose to do.  He worked to a level and standard of excellence which kept extreme pressure on him.  J.R. had a large presence he displayed, whether in his size and stature, or in everything he did. He loved big and he lived big.  He worked very hard to do whatever he thought was expected of him. J.R. was a fiercely loyal husband and friend.

J.R. was the ultimate “Beerman”. He loved the product portfolio at Gulf Distributing Company, where he was employed in a management position since 1999.  He proudly represented his company and in his off time helped a little with “personal quality control”.

In 1998, he landed an opportunity in Montrose, Alabama and was never happier than living in lower Alabama.  He loved his involvement with the Shadow Barons, the St. Paddy’s Daddies, and all the great opportunities for loving his best life on the Gulf Coast.

J.R. was an avid sports fan. He was obsessed with the Pittsburg Steelers.  He was currently totally invested in watching his alma mater UD Flyers in their pursuit of NCAA selection.

A life gone suddenly far too soon but surrounded by loving friends in a community where he and his wife, Kathy, had built their lives. We’re hoping he finds out soon whether God really is a Steelers fan, as he claimed.  What a wonderful life this big guy enjoyed.

J.R. is preceded in death by his parents, John F. Ebbitt and Jane Marszalek Ebbitt; his grandparents, Stanley and Regina Marszalek; and his mother-in-law, who he loved dearly, Doris Ullman; and his beloved dogs, Kacee, Pablo and Tasha Elena Margolis.

He is survived by his loving wife of 40 years, Katherine Irene Ullman Ebbitt; his siblings, Jeff Ebbitt (Jody), Joe Ebbitt (Honey) and Janine Ebbitt Montgomery; 5 godchildren; 21 nieces and nephews on both sides of the family; 3 great nephews; 1 great niece, all of whom he loved and cherished as his own; his beloved aunts and uncles in Pittsburg;  his beloved dog, Buggs; as well as other family members and many friends.

A memorial mass will be held on Friday, March 22, 2024, at Christ the King Catholic Church in Daphne, Alabama, at 11AM.  There will be a time of visitation prior to the service in the Assumption Hall at Christ the King at 10AM.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be made in his name to the American Heart Association at https://www.heart.org/en/get-involved/ways-to-give or to Thomas Hospital’s Cardiology Unit at https://www.infirmaryhealth.org/foundations/thomas-hospital-foundation/

Hughes Funeral Home, 26209 Pollard Road, Daphne, AL, is assisting the family.

11 Comments

  1. Ray szymarek

    J r you will be missed by every one every time I talked to you you had that wonderful smile aunt Dorothy and I remember vividly how you and your brothers and sister Janine would have fun throwing Chrissy and Charlie into your family swimming pool always a great nephew your uncle ray and aunt Dorothy

    Reply
  2. Roy Ebbitt

    Great cousin and a good man. Could not help, but to remember him at the Tinker Run reunion softball and volleyball games. That always seemed to spin out of control and get all of us boys in trouble with our parents. Even though Grandpap Ebbitt got a kick out of it.
    Miss you JR!!
    Roy

    Reply
  3. Charlie Szymarek

    What can I say but thank you. I all ways looked up to you for all that you have accomplished in life and the deep love you had for Kathy.. I know Aunt Jane and Uncle John welcomed you home to the stairway to seven. Have a cold miller waiting for me when I get to see ya again big cuz. Go Stillers

    Reply
  4. Jonathan Mills

    JR symbolized to me how a real man should walk (tall), talk (circumspectly), and carry himself (with pride and honor). I looked up to him, literally and figuratively, and held him as an example of how one should comport themselves. Kudos to those of you, especially Kathy, who somehow had a part in his life to help shape him this way, even if he was primarily self-made. I just wish I had known him sooner and for a whole lot longer.

    Reply
  5. Chris Pennington

    JR was the greatest manager and friend a guy could ever ask for, he always had your back and treated everyone with respect, he had a great spirit and enthusiasm in taking time to help someone out, he will truly be missed by all.

    Reply
  6. Lisa Thompson

    JR was a sweet man. He was so knowledgble about the beer and soda business. I learned alot from him. His smile was contagious. His pressence has been greatly missed at Gulf. Prayers for the family . He was a great man I am glad I got to know.

    Reply
  7. Gary Crumbley

    JR was a Great Guy! Even though we mostly got to visit with him during AML Mardi Gras balls (always looked forward to those visits!); he was one class act. Always super friendly with that awesome smile and quick wit. We pray for comfort for Kathy and the family and are thankful for having had the opportunity to meet them both.
    Godspeed J.R.
    -Gary & R.A. Crumbley

    Reply
  8. Kelly Haynes

    JR was a awesome person and loved so much by Kenny and myself.He brought so mush love and light every where he went. You will be missed. Prayers for Kathy and the family.

    Reply
  9. patty jones

    JR was always a pleasure to be around! Just a kind, funny big guy with a huge heart! His love for Kathy and the things she would talk him into doing were hilarious! They were the first Queen and King of Daphne. I thought JR was probably a shy guy when I first met him, but after I went to the AML ball and saw Kathy and JR I could tell he was all in. He is going to be missed by so many! God Bless you JR, until we meet again!

    Reply
  10. Kimberlee Louise Wilcox

    It has taken me a week to write this because I still don’t want this to be real.
    When Kathy and JR got married, I gained a brother, friend, and a frequent advisor on both work and life matters. Most of all, it always gave me great comfort that my friend had found a man who would always love and support her with all his might. In fact, whatever JR did, he gave it all his might. His laughter and smiles where never given in small measure, and you knew they were always sincere. His (sometimes) very dry sense of humor would “slay” me and there are too many times to count when the three of us would laugh until we cried. My respect for you, dear JR, is immense. Your life, while too short, was well lived and so full of joy on many levels. I will miss you my friend. I truly will. But I know the next time I see you, you’ll still be talking about those 6 rings the Steelers have —- until then go and experience all the love of those who went before you.

    Reply
  11. Tracilyn Tornblom

    Kathy, we were so saddened to hear of the loss of JR. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Shawn & Tracilyn Tornblom and family.

    Reply

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