David Kahn (Oakland, CA):
From Nancy Wagner-Forster (Santa Barbara, CA):
I was fortunate enough to be in a play directed by Sy -- Oh, What A Lovely War during the 1960's, put on by the UOP Players in a tiny theatre off Pacific Avenue in Stockton. It was a pleasure to work with Sy and the students. The play was timely (a protest against war, including Vietnam). Sy was a gentle soul with wonderful insights and directing skills. We were a tight knit cast and the play was a memorable experiece, thanks to Sy.
From Marian Jacobs (Stockton, CA):
i am saddened to read of the passing of Sy. i can't believe you have both been gone from stockton for so many years.
i always cherished his friendship, which began when i audited a poetry class of his at uop. he was a great teacher and i learned so much about the appreciation of poetry. we soon became friends. i remember one day he was out for a walk and passed my home and stopped by. i happened to cooking a stew for my dog molly brown. he said 'something smells good' and i asked if he'd like some. which he did. i didn't tell him it was for molly brown, because i used all good meat and veggies.
he was a wonderful man and was so fortunate to have found you as his soulmate and wife.
my warmest thoughts are with you, Jan. i know you will be comforted by many happy remembrances of your time together.
From Brett Abbott (Stockton, CA):
I was a student a U.O.P during his tenure and my late father Leonard M. Abbott knew him well. I was in a different area of study. My heartfelt condolences to him from me and my mother. He was a true educator. As a beginning one I can only hope to find some hope that someday I can exibit some of the many qualities that make a teacher into an excepional one like him. God bless.
From Janine Cortell:
Sy will always be a special friend to Mahlon and me. He gave so much to this world and he will be missed.
From Flip Wingrove:
Impressive site! Ida and I will never forget the impact of Sy on our personal lives.
From Bob Stack (NY):
I am sure no one knew Sy Kahn longer than I did, since I am his first cousin and his mother was my aunt Sophie. Flashes of our childhood come and go, with certain times most memorable and too numerous to talk about, but which were part of my growing up stages as a boy. I always looked up to cousin Sy and he was an idol of mine.
He was 5 years older than I. During WWII, I was a Boy Scout collecting tin toothpaste tubes for the war effort while Sy was in the Army in the South Pacific. A time, which he kept as a diary and which eventually was published as a book.
His academic years were an adventure in itself, and it would take another book to tell his life story. He was not a dull person by any means. As he went back & forth to Europe he would stop in New York to see my Mother, have another story to tell or problem to solve.
I knew him in many ways most of you didn’t, but on the other hand most of you knew him as an educator, poet, writer, dramatics teacher, director of plays, father, Zeda (grandfather) and a man whose views were often sought on various subjects.
He was an avid movie go-er and he was one for foreign films although he still liked a good adventure, sci-fi and shoot ‘em ups, and he was an avid sports fan with the Mariners, Seahawks & Huskies top on his list.
It is hard for me to put into words how I loved him.. The 13 years we shared on the hill on Holcomb Street in Port Townsend were a treat & adventure. His life was definitely part of mine and Natalie’s and he shall never be forgotten.
From Yvonne Pepin-Wakefield (Kuwait):
Shared a warm Christmas in London with a controversial bottle of Hungarian wine that made many memories and later a Sader in Port Townsend.
Dr. Yvonne Wakefield
College for Women
Department Art and Design
From Judy Chambers:
I was so sorry to hear of Sy's passing. Even though I did not get to see him often, I have such fond memories of the plays he directed and the courses he taught. He was one of the best. My late husband Dewey thought he was one of Pacific's most talented professors. And I agreed. Jan, you are in my thoughts and prayers.
From Bob Fairbrook (Chicago, IL):
I was 16 years old when Sy directed me in You Can’t Take It With You at Fallon House Theatre. It was the first of almost a dozen productions in which he was my director. He was passionate, intellectual and uncompromising. He assumed his students were intelligent and treated us as such. On my 18th birthday he invited me to his house for breakfast and gave me his insight into both the world of theatre and my chances of success in it. I recall him telling me I had a “fair shot” at success. He was a wordsmith so the phrase was probably calculated to both warn and encourage. It did both. After almost 30 years as a financial planner I returned to acting. I had my professional acting debut in Chicago this year! Sy was one of my mentors who helped cultivate a love of language and theatre that will last my lifetime.
From Judy Caruso Williamson (Stockton, CA):
I was saddened to hear of Sy’s passing and didn’t realize how long ago he left Stockton. I never had the opportunity to work with Sy, but as a former UOP drama student and a member of Stockton Civic Theatre, I always followed his work, which was outstanding. He captured so many nuances in scripts and characters, and this element alone made it fascinating to observe his plays. He will be missed and revered by all.
Sincerely, Judy Caruso Williamson
To the Family of Sy Kahn,
We at Stockton Civic Theatre wish to send our condolences in the new of Sy’s passing. We remember well the outstanding work he did for our theatre, as well as his impact at the University of the Pacific. He was a master of his craft and a gentleman in every respect. Please accept our sympathies. A donation to the Sy Kahn Scholarship Fund at UOP will be made in honor of this wonderful man.
Stockton Civic Theatre,
Jim Colman, Producing Director
Marvin Williamson, President of the Board,
Footlighters, Theatre Volunteers Organization
From Bob Stetson (Palo Alto, CA):
On Sunday, February 10th, 2008, I had the privilege of reading one of Sy's wonderful poems at his service at UOP's Morris Chapel titled: "Friday Afternoons." And at the end of the reading, I said to the crowd gathered: "Boy what I would give to spend another Friday afternoon with Sy..." For such a wish to come true would be simply sublime.
Sy Kahn was/is a wonderful talent and human being. Every moment spent with him while I attended UOP became a special "teaching moment" where we all learned something new about a particular subject, our world in general (from both current and historical perspectives) and/or ourselves as young, emerging and contributing adults in our society.
My time spent with Sy in his classes and seminars and then on stage in his plays at UOP, Fallon House and as a member of the European Tour we took to Austria and Germany in 1973 were incredible moments of learning and collaboration. All were magical moments that I will never forget. They remain vivid in my mind and I hope that they can stay there and be that way always.
I think of Sy often and I am sure I will always continue to do so. He was a creative, dynamic and challenging individual to know. As I told the crowd gathered on Sunday: "I have been a student and friend and by-product of Sy Kahn since 1969." And I will continue to be so moving forward in life.
Thank you Jan, David, Kathy and family for creating a wonderful "pause" to remember our Sy on Sunday. And may I also add here that you have done a superb job with Sy's website. Thank you for that gift and effort. It is most appreciated.
Best wishes to you all,