Ken Kander Obituary, Death – On Saturday, September 9, 2023, the world lost its kindest resident. Murray Kenny Kander’s parents always meant for him to be known as Ken Kander, hence the look of disapproval you’d get if you tried to call him by his formal first name. Ken had an infinite capacity for love. They all fell madly in love with him. We who loved him were all certain that our bond with him was unparalleled in depth and breadth, and we were all right.
On May 7th, 1949, Ken entered this world in Toledo, Ohio. Jake B. Kander, his father, was from Lithuania, and Caroline Lill Kander (later Rosenberg) was from Czechoslovakia, so both of his parents were immigrants. Ken lost his own father when he was only 16 years old, yet he never stopped talking about “Zayde Jake.” Ken has a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and psychology from Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University and a Master of Science in finance from Michigan’s Walsh College in Troy. The unifying goal of all the projects he worked on with his brilliant mind was “making the world a better place.
” He spent twenty years as Director of Finance and Operations at Holly Academy in Holly, Michigan, where he especially enjoyed reading stories to kindergarten students once a week, after having previously worked for the Ohio Parole Authority in Cleveland, Lettuce Entertain You in Chicago, and Allied Communications in Southfield. After retiring, he started a second career as an English teacher for overseas students, who admired him. He was also a Hebrew school teacher, where he often covered his specialty: Jewish humor. (He was always up for a laugh. Plus, anything Jewish. He alone found year-round consumption of matzah and gefilte fish to be a source of genuine pleasure.
Ken Kander is incomparable; he defies description. His life exemplified the Yiddish value of “mensch,” or “good person.” He was a soothing influence and a source of wisdom and humor. He had 42 happy years with his wife, Lisa. Ken enjoyed the theater, poker, spending time with family, a good glass of dry red wine or chivas on the rocks, the Detroit Tigers, and the Beatles. His wife Lisa, their children and grandchildren, and other relatives via blood and marriage brought him the most happiness. Everyone loved and still loves him very much.
Ken leaves behind his wife, Lisa; his children and their partners, Beth Kander-Dauphin (Danny Dauphin), Jacob Kander (Jessica), Adam Kander (Jenna Pawlicki), and Claire Kander (Kevin Golden); grandchildren Jude, Lucy, Effie, and Matan; two of his six siblings, Rochelle and Marton; and many cherished cousins, nieces, nephews, family, and friends. His mother and father, as well as four of his six siblings—Herman, Irving, Seymour, and Esther—have all passed away. Without Ken Kander, the world will be a different place. His legacy will be our greatest gift, and we should commemorate him every day by seeking justice and acting kindly. The Temple Beth El of Flint, the Jessica Shayne Magid Chapter of the Leukemia Research Foundation, or your favorite charity would all be fitting places to send memorial contributions in his name.
On Tuesday, September 12 at 11 AM Eastern time, a friend of the family, Rabbi Debra Kassoff, will preside over funeral services at Temple Beth El (5150 Calkins Road, Flint). Zoom users will also be able to watch the service. For the Zoom link and password, please email the Temple at firstname.lastname@example.org. There will be a short graveside service at Beth El Memorial Park in Flint Memorial Park Cemetery (9506 N Dort Highway, Mt Morris) after the funeral. After the burial, there will be a luncheon at the Temple Beth El community hall. Rabbi Kassoff will preside over Shiva services at Temple Beth El on Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. Eastern. Leonard Meizlish will also be leading shiva on Wednesday at the Kander family home and through Zoom, and on Thursday via Zoom only.