Posted Apr 05, 2007 Wellesley
Konrad A. Ulbrich, 68; sailor, entrepreneur
Konrad Alfred Ulbrich of Warren, Maine, died on Wednesday evening March 28, 2007, at Pen Bay Medical Center surrounded by family and friends after a sudden and severe blood infection. He was 68.
A resident of Warren since 1978, Konrad and his wife Louise and two children moved to Maine with the intention of raising sheep; however, always innovative and ambitious, he thrived on a steady stream of tremendous and awe-inspiring projects that included running sheep out to the local islands in a WWII landing craft, clearing and bulldozing pastureland with an antiquated D-9 bulldozer, introducing the first round hay-baler to the local farming community, re-building a fishing wharf of his own design and construction in Port Clyde, harvesting blueberry land near his home in Warren, and late in life, overseeing the restoration of a 52-foot 1930 classic racing yacht that he renamed Hayday in his workshop at the farm.
The son of German immigrants, Koni grew up in Wellesley. He was an All-American swimmer at Harvard College, Class of 1960, where he was elected captain of the freshman and varsity swim teams. An ROTC student at Harvard, he served two years as a Naval officer, and was eager to boast that he spent most of his active duty as manager of the athletic club at the Pentagon, playing squash with the Admirals. Growing up sailing as a kid on the Cape, Koni made his way into the racing community in Newport and eventually sailed as crew in the America's Cup trials on the American Eagle. Always knowing that he would need to be his own boss, he attended the Harvard Business School, and afterwards, with his partner Joseph Collins and with full financing, he bought the Dover Ski Binding factory in West Concord. Failing under 17 percent interest rates and consecutive snowless winters, the ski-binding went bankrupt in the '80s, yet Koni and Joe responded with endless innovative ideas. They manufactured early roof-racks for cars and helped to start Navtec, a company that designs cutting-edge stainless steel sailing rigging and that also designed the rigging for the glass pyramid at the entrance to the Louvre. Able to salvage some property out of the original ski-binding factory, Koni and Joe eventually started Concord-Littleton Properties, renting commercial space to small businesses and artists in West Concord and Littleton.
Among many projects in Maine, Konrad bought and ran the Port Clyde General Store for several years in the mid-70s. Many years later with partner John Boulware he started St. George Marine, an active fishing wharf in Port Clyde. Having always been interested in farming, he embarked at times on different livestock projects, and cut hay and complained about it every summer since 1978. A fearless critic of local politics, Konrad was a colorful, infamous, devoted and beloved member of the local community.
Known for his generosity, loyalty, candor, and especially his quick wit, Konrad is survived by the following devoted family members, none of whom has ever lived up to his expectations (yet!): his wife, Louise Ulbrich of Warren; his daughter, Cecile, and son-in-law, Stewart Tucker, and their child Amelia of Weston; his daughter, Wilhelmina Ulbrich of Belmont; his brother, Dick Ulbrich of Wellesley; and his sister, Heidi Ulbrich of Falmouth.