In Memoriam: Ken Vannice

by Michael Eddy
Ken Vannice, Fellow of USITT
Ken Vannice, Fellow of USITT

Ken Vannice passed away on the morning of January 15th, in Portland, OR, after a battle with cancer. Vannice was a long-time member of USITT and was inducted as a Fellow of the Institute in 2004. His favorite USITT memory was of leading the charge to revise the NEC including adding the requirements for single-conductor feeder systems. Vannice once commented on what USITT meant to him as, "USITT has always been a place for me to shared ideas and hone skills. Furthermore, many of my extended family members are Institute members."

His friend and colleague, Steve Terry noted, “It is with deep sadness that I report the passing of Ken Vannice this morning in Portland, after a battle with cancer. Ken was a friend and colleague for more than 40 years. He was a brilliant force behind education, certification, and codes and standards work in the entertainment technology industry. He was the longest-serving member of NEC Code Panel 15, having been a member since 1988. He will be deeply missed by all of us who had the privilege to know him and work with him—but the legacy of his work, his persistence, and his infectious enthusiasm will be with us for many years to come.”

A short list of his career highlights include:
Technical Director for MSU Student Union Theatre and The Loft Theatre (summer stock)
Degrees in Electrical Engineering and Theatre Arts from Montana State University
Engineer/Manager for Kliegl Bros. Western Corp., Colortran Inc., NSI Corp., and Leviton Manufacturing Co. Inc.
Stage lighting system and equipment designer
Registered Professional Engineer, Electrical
Member of several codes and standards bodies
ETCP Certified Entertainment Electrician and Recognized Electrical Trainer

He was remembered by USITT in a statement: “We are saddened to share that longtime USITT member and Fellow Ken Vannice died this morning in Portland, Oregon. Ken had been a member since the early days of USITT and was a strong advocate of our best practices committee, electrics education, and all that the Institute did."

Learn more about Ken’s accomplishments as well as his contributions to USITT here:

Ken's friend and adopted family, Lila Stephens and her husband Bryan Ackler sent over this Obituary:

Kenneth E. Vannice, 74, died on January 15th, 2018 in Portland, Oregon of cancer complications.

He was born on January 2, 1944 in Bozeman, Montana to Daniel Bratschi Vannice and Catherine Asimos Vannice where he grew up. After graduation from Bozeman schools and Montana State University he moved to Los Angeles, California to work as an Electrical Engineer for a stage and studio lighting company. In 1996 he followed his profession to Portland, Oregon.

Vannice was a member of Gallatin Lodge No. 6 AF&AM of Bozeman, Montana, the Pacific NW Railway Historical Society of Portland, Oregon and both the Rosetown Ramblers and Heads to the Center square dance clubs of Portland. He was active in codes and standards work through the Entertainment Services and Technology Association and the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, of which he was a Fellow. Vannice was also active in establishing a certification program for entertainment electricians through the Entertainment Technician Certification Program.

He is preceded in death by his parents, step brothers, step sister, aunts, and uncles.  He is survived by many cousins including H. Lee Vannice of Corvallis, Oregon. He is also survived by his friend and adopted family, Lila Stephens and her husband Bryan Ackler.

Services will be held in Bozeman, Montana and a Celebration of Ken’s life will be held in Portland in February. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to the Behind the Scenes charity or the charity of your choice.