Ken Schram was a part of the KOMO family for 35 years working as a reporter, commentator, host, and radio personality before retiring two years ago. He passed away Thursday afternoon at the age of 66 with his family by his side.
Ken had been battling an internal infection for the past several months. His wife Sandi was at his side night and day since he fell ill. Ken told her every day of their 44 years together that she was the love of his life.
Ken was brash and opinionated. He was a devilish practical joker, known for his nicknames and his no-holds-barred sense of humor.
And that was only the beginning.
There is a 4th floor deck outside the news director’s office at KOMO. It’s against the rules to smoke there. Everybody knows that.
And for that reason alone, it was Ken Schram’s favorite place to light up. He was like that.
When it was time for him to record his final commentary, we decided to give him an audience. He got all warm and cuddly on us.
“Bull—-! Get the hell out of here!” he said.
He was like that too. Over the years you knew him as a rock-solid reporter; you watched him stir up passions for years on “Town Meeting.”
He’d run around and wave his arms and get everybody going.
He helped KOMO win a Peabody Award with a special called, “Fed Up with Fear.”
Eventually, somebody decided to just let him spout off two or three times a week. Then came the Schrammie award, and the ride continued.
And a few years back, he made the transition to radio and it was just what you’d expect: Direct, passionate, guns a blazin’.
“I’ve always been a grumpy old bastard,” he said.
He talked tough, but if you knew him at all, you knew that he cared about people — all people: rich and poor; the lucky ones and the messed up ones too.
He was constantly giving $5 to a homeless guy. “Go get something to eat,” he’d say.
Some tough guy.
Chief photographer Randy Carnell summed him up best.
“He’s funny and he’s mean and he’s nice… he’s crazy,” Carnell said. “He has everything going on in that head of his. He’s a nut.”
He was like creme brulee: All crusty on the outside, soft and gooey and sweet underneath.
He was putty in the hands of his kids Keith, Diana and Nick. And around his granddaughter Freya? Forget it.
“It was always an adventure,” Schram said upon his retiring two years ago. “It really was. It was an adventure, a thrill, a challenge, I had a great time.”
He liked stirring up the pot, raising a little hell with a little thing called honesty.
Maybe we need more of that.
“I’ve just kind of gone with the flow and have just enjoyed the moment and the time,” he said. “And so I look back and think I’ve been one fortunate sonofabitch.”
On the 4th floor deck of life, Ken Schram was the guy out having a smoke.