It is with great sadness that we share the news that Ab Rees passed away on April 14, 2022. Ab was a valuable member of the Alpha-1 community and was an active AlphaNet Board member.
Ab’s contributions to the Alpha-1 community were innumerable. He joined the AlphaNet Board in 2003 and served as Past Board Chair and Treasurer. Ab was also a member of the AlphaNet Board Executive Committee and served as Chairman of the Investment Committee and the Audit and Finance Committee.
“Ab was instrumental in AlphaNet’s growth. He wasn’t afraid of big ideas or big decisions and was a huge advocate for the Alpha-1 community. We were fortunate to have him as a member. Personally, he was my mentor and became a dear friend. My sympathies go out to his wife, Lynne, and the rest of his family. He will be missed,” said Robert L. Greene, Jr., Chair of the AlphaNet Board of Directors.
Ab served as Chairman of the Alpha-1 Foundation Board of Directors from 2004-2013 and was a member of the Foundation Board for 12 years. He sat on the Alpha-1 Project (TAP) Board of Directors as Treasurer, served as Development Chair and Investment & Finance Committee Chair, and assisted as the Interim President and CEO for the Foundation during a time of transition. He was also an active member in his support group in Kansas City.
Ab became involved with the Alpha-1 community shortly after his diagnosis in 2002. A year after his diagnosis, Ab met Bob Barrett (Former President and CEO of AlphaNet) and John Walsh (Co-founder of AlphaNet and the Alpha-1 Foundation and President and CEO of the Alpha-1 Foundation at the time) at a National Conference and they asked Ab to join AlphaNet’s Board of Directors. In 2004, Ab was also asked to join the Board of Directors of the Alpha-1 Foundation.
“Ab was a businessman that took his work with the Alpha-1 community like a job. He used his professional expertise to help lead the Alpha-1 Foundation in all aspects and helped push our mission to find a cure forward. While serving as Chair from 2004-2013 he worked closely with our late co-founder, John W. Walsh to bring many ideas and projects to fruition. The passion of patients like Ab, inspire physicians and researchers in the field to work harder each and every day. Ab will be greatly missed by all that knew him and had the pleasure of working with him throughout the years,” said Dr. Jeanine D’Armiento, Chair of the Alpha-1 Foundation Board of Directors.
Ab had a distinguished 50-year career as an executive in the railroad industry. He was the former Chairman and CEO of Railworks, Inc. and prior to that, served as the Senior Vice President, International Operations of Kansas City Southern Railway. During his career, he worked for a number of Fortune 500 companies, most notably Santa Fe Railway (now Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway) where he served as the Vice President of Operations and Union Pacific Railroad where he served as General Director, Service Design.
A memorial service will take place on Monday, May 2, 2022 at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church (1600 Rte 291, Liberty, MO 64068). Visitation: 2-3 PM; Service 3-4 PM; Meal 4-5 PM. Link to service information: https://pv.churchcenter.com/calendar/event/101749453.