A death too soon

Posted: Friday, June 22, 2001

Ken Kadow of Juneau High School's class of 1952 died on June 17. About a month ago he told me that he didn't think that he would make our 50-year reunion, and, as usual, he was right.

Over those years I had been recurrently haunted by a conversation that I had with Janet Schultz during our senior year. Janet was perhaps the smartest girl in a class that featured smart girls, and we were speculating about what the future held for our classmates. When I mentioned Ken Kadow, Janet quickly said, "He will die young. Nice guys like Ken go away to war and are killed, or something else happens to take them away before their time."

Ken had moved to Juneau shortly after school began in the fall of 1948, our freshman year. I recall first seeing him as he was introduced to our sixth-hour English class with Miss Dean. He was slender, quite tan and very neatly dressed in a light short-sleeved shirt. He looked a little effete and out of place in a Juneau classroom. We quickly became inseparable friends. He was steady as a rock, with good manners, a ready smile, and a perpetually positive attitude. Every parent in town secretly hoped that he would marry their daughter.

As it happened, the Kadows moved to Anchorage while Ken was in college at Washington State, and Ken ultimately married Charity Bowers, of Anchorage High School's Class of 1958. After graduating from WSU, Ken did a stint in the Air Force as a jet pilot and flight instructor. Then, he and Charity returned to Anchorage where he worked in the financial sector and served as Commissioner of Commerce for Gov. Egan during Egan's third term. Ken lived long enough to raise five wonderful children and get to know and love a half-dozen grandchildren. For at least the last 15 years he was tragically afflicted with a painful and debilitating arthritic condition. A lesser man would not have endured either as long or a well as Ken did.

And so, as it happened, Ken's was not a terribly short life. However, when death comes to a really good man, it is always too soon.

Hugh G. Wade


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