CARMEL EBB
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EBB Carmel P. Ebb Carmel ("Kim") Ebb was the first woman to hold a judicial clerkship on a United States Court of Appeals, and later a partner in a prominent Manhattan law firm when few women had the opportunity to attain that status. Mrs. Ebb died on February 10, 2019 at the age of 94. Mrs. Ebb (then Prashker) grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where she was a self-described "Dodgers groupie", often skipping school to attend baseball games at Ebbets Field and once finding herself on a "date" (a Coke at a malt shop) with a prominent member of the team. Her casual attitude toward attending classes did not prevent Mrs. Ebb from academic success, and she went on to complete Barnard College and Columbia Law School in a total of five years, receiving her law degree at the age of 21. Although she graduated first in her law school class, Mrs. Ebb found the choices for women in the law to be severely limited in 1945. Law firms at the time would hire female attorneys, but almost exclusively for back room positions drafting relatively routine documents, with no prospect for client contact or for being part of, much less taking a leading role in, more weighty and exciting matters. Women in the 1940's could also find work as government lawyers, but even here they typically played their parts far in the background. Undeterred by her bleak job prospects, Mrs. Ebb applied for a position as judicial clerk to Jerome Frank, one of the leading jurists of the day and one of six judges on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, then considered the best appellate court in the country. Judge Frank had earlier penned an article for the Saturday Evening Post in which he asserted that women were every bit as able as men to succeed in the workplace, and that they ought to be given the chance to do so. Mrs. Ebb wrote to Judge Frank, agreeing with his premise and asking whether he would afford her the kind of opportunity he had urged employers to make available to women generally. True to his word and to his principles, Judge Frank hired Mrs. Ebb as the country's first female law clerk to a federal appeals court judge. Later in life, Mrs. Ebb would see it as her pleasant obligation to mentor and support young women lawyers, as Judge Frank did for her. While Mrs. Ebb was clerking for Judge Frank, a matchmaking court librarian introduced her to Lawrence F. Ebb, then a judicial clerk to another of the Second Circuit's judges. Mr. Ebb had graduated first in his class at Harvard Law School after his return from naval service during World War II, and Mrs. Ebb found him to be smart, funny and handsome. Barely seven months after meeting, the two were married. Mr. Ebb would move from clerking on the Second Circuit in New York to a clerkship in Washington, DC with Fred Vinson, the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court. Mrs. Ebb also sought a Supreme Court clerkship, and had what she believed to be a strong and promising interview with one of the justices. Her hopes were dashed, however, when the justice concluded their conversation by saying he had no doubt she would be a fine clerk, but that his wife would never allow him to work in such close proximity to a woman. Rebounding from this disappointment, Mrs. Ebb was able to secure a position in Washington as an attorney for the recently formed Atomic Energy Commission. After three years at the AEC, Mrs. Ebb went on to serve as Associate General Counsel to the National Sciences Foundation, from 1951 until 1954. Seeking more time to spend raising her three young children, Mrs. Ebb next took on a series of part-time positions. These included assisting a prominent labor arbitrator and mediator, serving on a national task force looking into self-dealing by foundations and philanthropies, and working as an associate editor of a securities law publication. Mrs. Ebb also found time to serve as a "Law Guardian", representing children and young adults in family court proceedings. In 1972, Mrs. Ebb returned to the full-time practice of law, first as an associate and then as a full partner in one of New York's most respected labor law boutique firms. Mrs. Ebb served as a partner for nine years, until the firm's dissolution in 1985. Here, Mrs. Ebb specialized in litigation, arbitration and administrative agency proceedings, all the types of work which at the outset of her career had been denied to her, and to nearly all female attorneys. Mrs. Ebb next worked for two years at a national firm specializing in labor and employment law, before taking a position as an attorney in the Supreme Court Branch of the National Labor Relations Board, in Washington, DC. After her retirement from the NLRB in 1990, Mrs. Ebb continued to stay active in the law until her mid-80's. She served as a hearing officer adjudicating labor relations disputes between the District of Columbia and its employees, and as a court-appointed advocate on behalf of children in foster care. From 2010 until 2017, Mrs. Ebb served on the Montgomery County Council's Grants Advisory Group, helping determine which non-profit organizations should receive government funds for safety-net programs and services supporting disadvantaged area residents. Following the death of her husband in 2000, Mrs. Ebb moved to Maplewood Park Place, an independent living community in Bethesda, Maryland. Despite initial trepidation, and to her great pleasure, Mrs. Ebb found at Maplewood a population of caring, active and intellectually curious seniors and a warm and compassionate staff, in whose company she flourished. Mrs. Ebb served on Maplewood's board of directors and on a number of its governance committees and - until her death - cherished her time, and especially her many friends, in the community. In December 2018, the American Bar Association published (in its on-line ABA Journal) an article by Mrs. Ebb recounting some of her early experiences as a woman in the law. (http://www.abajournal.com/voice/article/a_career_of_legal_firsts_including_romance_and_marriage) She would later describe as "foolishness" the suggestion that she had been any kind of a trailblazer for other female attorneys, saying that her achievements as a lawyer were "mostly luck". But for all her professional modesty, Mrs. Ebb was openly proud of, and took great joy in, her successes as a mother and grandmother. To her three children and six grandchildren, Mrs. Ebb offered unconditional love, but also unabashed (and almost always sound) advice. Her combination of steadfast emotional support and unstinting rationality helped guide children and grandchildren alike through many difficult times, often aided by a milkshake and an order of French fries from which she would pilfer shamelessly. To the simultaneous chagrin and amusement of her children and then their children, Mrs. Ebb remained a formidable ping pong player into her 80's, and a rarely beaten Scrabble player into her 90's. She grudgingly gave up kayaking with her grandchildren at what she considered to be the premature age of 91. Mrs. Ebb is survived by her daughter, Nancy and her sons, David and Peter, as well as her grandchildren, Michael and Daniel Ford and Joseph, Sam, Sara and Max Ebb. She also leaves behind her son-in-law, Gary Ford and daughters-in-law, Winnie Ebb and Frances Green. Mrs. Ebb's ashes will be interred at Arlington Cemetery next to those of her husband, and a memorial service will be scheduled soon and held at Maplewood Park Place. Mrs. Ebb was a fervent supporter of those causes, both great and small, which she believed would most improve the lives of others; in lieu of flowers, friends of Mrs. Ebb are encouraged to make contributions, whether financial or otherwise, to such a cause. Charities close to the family heart include Nurturing Minds in Africa, Urban College of Boston, and Mass General Hospital Pediatric Hematology and Oncology.Mrs. Ebb is survived by her daughter, Nancy and her sons, David and Peter, as well as her grandchildren, Michael and Daniel Ford and Joseph, Sam, Sara and Max Ebb. She also leaves behind her son-in-law, Gary Ford and daughters-in-law, Winnie Ebb and Frances Green. Mrs. Ebb's ashes will be interred at Arlington Cemetery next to those of her husband, and a memorial service will be scheduled soon and held at Maplewood Park Place. Mrs. Ebb was a fervent supporter of those causes, both great and small, which she believed would most improve the lives of others; in lieu of flowers, friends of Mrs. Ebb are encouraged to make contributions, whether financial or otherwise, to such a cause. Charities close to the family heart include Nurturing Minds in Africa, Urban College of Boston, and Mass General Hospital Pediatric Hematology and Oncology.

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Published in The Washington Post on Feb. 17, 2019.
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3 entries
March 1, 2019
I was sorry to hear of Kim's passing. She was a great friend to my mother for over 50 years, from working together in the Scarsdale Democratic Party up until a little over a year ago when Kim took the time to visit as my mother was in hospice care the last few weeks of her own life. Her son, David, and I spent a good dea of time together growing up, and Kim was always supportive and encouraging towards me, including finding me many of the first odd jobs I ever held.

I have no idea as to the source of this guest book, but I am glad my brother saw the obituary and related the news to me. I will always treasure my memories of Kim and what she meant for my family.
Curtis Brown
February 24, 2019
God's comfort and blessings as she Rest In Peace.
February 18, 2019
Kim was a great and kind woman, a rare combination. I am privileged to have known her. My ownmother, Yolande Davenport, also lived at Maplewood Park Place. Kim was her closest, beloved friend. They knew each other for years. I think one of the reasons they bonded was that both had first-rate minds, and they both loved music.
In addition to the daily routine living at Maplewood, they had private, weekly martini nights in each other's apartments. When my mother passed in 2014, I had the good fortune of getting to know Kim better. We used to go to concerts together, and Kim expanded my repertoire of artists and musical pieces. What a dear, wonderful woman. I enjoyed Kim's company greatly and will miss her sorely. Liz Davenport McKune (former US Ambassador to the State of Qatar, 1998-2001)
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