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Sharbanee Family

Sharbanee Family

Carol Sharbanee with inaugural recipiencies of the Benmark Outcare Scholarship Maree Garcia and Liam Kelly-Akee.

By Carol Sharbanee

Ken and I were married for 36 years before he passed away in May 2011, at the age of 62. He was a Singapore Jew, whose family came to Singapore from Iraq, because of persecution.

He loved his Singapore life, going to school there until his parents sent him to board at Scotch College in Perth, Western Australia (WA) when he was 11. Ken gradually settled into life in WA and studied to become a Chartered accountant.

Ken was working at Price Waterhouse (now PwC) in Perth when he returned to Singapore in 1974 at the age of 26. He continued working at Price Waterhouse in Singapore. We were dating at the time.

We got engaged when I visited Singapore and we set up home there. We had our two sons, first Scott in 1979 and then Jason in 1981. When I was pregnant with Jason, we moved to Jakarta for a year, where Ken ran a business for a colleague of his father’s. We moved back to Singapore after one year in Indonesia.

Eventually, after 13 years, we decided Perth was a better place to bring up our boys. Ken had left Price Waterhouse and was working as the Financial Controller for a Philippine oil and gas company. The company later folded, which is when we returned to Perth. Scott and Jason were happy to become Aussies!

Ken managed a storage company for a couple of years, while looking for a business opportunity. It came, in the form of Electrical Industrial Wholesalers (EIW). The business was run down and failing, which is exactly just what Ken wanted. He built the company up over the years, growing from one store to eight, including a few in the country and one in Newcastle. His vision was very successful. Each Store Manager became partners with 100% authority. The Store Managers evolved from salesmen to businessmen and they thrived.

He was diagnosed with a brain tumour in December 2009 when our world was turned upside down. He had just sold the business when he was diagnosed with the tumour. He was so grateful he had sold it. It made things much easier for him. He survived for 17 months, taking chemotherapy pills every day. He lived much longer than the doctors expected. He was a fighter and an optimist. We still laughed a lot. He prepared everything for me, including teaching me how to bank online. He had managed all our finances. He tied up all lose ends. He wasn’t in pain until the last 6 weeks when it was excruciating as the tumour had travelled to his spine.

Ken’s parents imparted to him the importance of education and hard work to become successful. And that you should sustain and care for those in your circle.

That’s what we want to do with this scholarship – give people an opportunity to get to a better place. We want to contribute where we feel we can make a difference. We love what Outcare is doing. Now Scott manages our Trust and Jason, Scott and I are a team.

Ken was a very content person. He said when he was sick, that he has had a blessed life. He was very proud of Scott and Jason, who became an engineer and a psychologist respectively.

His was a life well lived.