Ebenezer Laing was born in Cape Coast on the 28th of June 1931 and sadly passed away on the 19th of April 2015.
He attended the Adisadel College and did sixth form at Achimota School. He went on to the University College of the Gold Coast, where he graduated with a First class and obtained the Basindale prize (2nd). After obtaining his Ph.D. from University of Cambridge (Corpus Christi College), he returned to the University of Ghana, where he served in many different capacities.
He rose from lectureship to become a Professor at the Botany department, where he was much loved by his students at all levels. During his career at the University of Ghana, he had the opportunity to serve as the Head of the Botany Department, the Hall Master of Legon Hall, the Dean of the Faculty of Science, and also as Pro-Vice Chancellor.
He also made small teaching contributions to other departments of the University of Ghana, including the Institute of African Studies, the Regional Institute for Population Studies, the Department of Geography, the Department of Community Health at Korle-Bu, the School of Public Health, the Psychology Department, and the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy. As a part of his academic duties, He served as an external examiner in other universities in Africa, and travelled for many Scientific conferences. Many established Ghanaian scientists at home and abroad will testify that he was an inspiration, a mentor, a good collaborator and a positive role model.
He was also a valuable asset in the broader intellectual community of Ghana. At different times he was a member or visitor or consultant or affiliate of different institutions and/or committees, including the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana, the Volta Basin Research Project, the Population Dynamics Program at Legon, and the African Academy of Sciences, of which he was a Founding Fellow. More recently, with the trend to establish many more Universities and Colleges in Ghana besides the original big three, he helped to provide guidance during the establishment of the University of Development Studies, the Presbyterian University and also the Anglican University of Ghana.
Ultimately he was honoured by the University of Ghana with a D.Sc. (Honoris Causa), an Emeritus Professorship in the Department of Botany, and by the Presidency of Ghana as an Officer of the Order of the Volta. He was recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus of Legon Hall with the Gold Medal, and also with the Adisadel College Centenary Award as a Distinguished Old Boy. Remarkably, the road behind his former office at the Botany department was named after him.
He wasn't all work -- he had many hobbies too. He was a very good photographer, and was well known for walking around the University campus with a camera around his neck. His favourite subjects were the many members of the University community and their families, and of course his own friends and family. He also took documentary or scientific pictures of a lot of plants, always making sure to include a ruler for a good indication of scale. He was very happy to take pictures of people, but occasionally he would overlook an eager subject to take a picture of what was to him, a very interesting plant, whose beauty and importance was not significant to most people.
His broad interest in Music included playing the Oboe early on and beginning to learn to play the classical guitar later in life, but by far his most active instrument was the Piano. He played at many classical concerts with his friends, performing piano solos and duets as well as accompanying vocalists, violinists/violists, cellists and flutists. At one point he led the Legon Hall choir. His taste in Music included Ghanaian music, as well as western classical music, including the Baroque and Romantic eras. His birth family also exposed him to Christian music of the Anglican Church. Indeed he was recognized by the Legon Anglican Church for his long and dedicated service as an Organist for 30 years.
[Side Note: The music you can hear on this site are six Schubert Impromptus. They were among his favourites to play, however these recordings are by Chiara Bertoglio, used with permission from www.musopen.org. At the top right of the page there are controls to turn the music on and off.]
He also loved to read on a very wide variety of subjects, and built up a very large collection of books at home and at work. After retirement, he adopted Tennis to stay in shape, and as a venue for socialization. He also became fond of electronic gadgets including computers and laptops, an iPad and an iPod touch, and this enabled him to incorporate some computer literacy and simple computer programming into his teaching.
Just two months ago he lost his loving wife of many years, Mildred. He is survived by three children -- Ebenezer Kwamina, Amelia Efua, and Ambrose Kofi, son-in-law Cyril Ofori and two grandchildren, Kyle and Kevin Ofori.
We knew him best as a loving father and grandfather who took a keen interest in the education of his children and made sure we had all the intellectual stimulation we needed to grow up into productive citizens -- We miss him deeply, but we are comforted that his work lives on in the lives of the many that he interacted with. Daddy, GrandPa, Rest in Peace.