Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Dr. Kenneth C. Lindsay -- Death of a Beloved Friend and Advisor

Me visiting with Ken Lindsay at his home in Vestal NY, January 2007.

I received sad news yesterday that my beloved friend and advisor, Ken Lindsay, passed away on Monday. He was 89 years old and lived one of the fullest lives of anyone I have ever met or known. I wish you could have known him! He possessed an effusive warmth, was endowed with an extremely generous personality, told the best stories and kept everything spicy with the most delicious sense of humor. There aren't many people built like Ken Lindsay or his wife, Christine, and I consider myself lucky to call them both "friends".

I first met Ken through my pre-dissertation project with Princeton's Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies in which I was seeking to learn how the US Government and its military chooses sites of cultural heritage to protect or destroy during wartime. This led me to the work of Richard Berge and his documentary film "Rape of Europa" in which the looting of Europe's great works of art at the hands of the Nazis is told. Furthermore, the producers and directors included interviews with remaining Monuments Men from WWII -- Ken is among those interviewed!

Ken played a crucial part in the war by serving at the Wiesbaden Collecting Point, discovering, among other treasures, the bust of Nefertiti. He once told me that upon gazing into her face, he fell instantly in love. (Be sure to click on the Wiesbaden link for the full story!)

A letter and phone correspondence turned into visits at his home in Vestal, NY, and I usually wound up either at the kitchen table or in his study immersed in deep conversations with him -- his wife, Christine, frequently joining in the fun. The three or four of us (depending on who else was visiting) would chow on good food and delve into every topic under the sun -- from WWII to Bach and everything in between. These were rich conversations told by individuals who had led rich lives in service of others. And I always found myself thinking that Ken and Christine and their life together were models for how life could be led.

He was the best man and I shall deeply, deeply miss him.

(Click on the following links to read more about him and the important work he did during the latter years of WWII.)


Aly said...

Sorry to hear about his passing. I can tell you really loved him. Sounds like he lead an incredibly rich and full life- we should all be so lucky.

Kelly McGannon said...

Hi, Aly.

Yeah. It's hard because he was one of those rare breeds of people -- so classy and yet a ball of fun.

I miss him so much. I just can't believe he's gone!

Ken said...

I am a long time friend of Ken and Christine starting in the early 60's Ken and I had to exchange mail I in Johnson City he in Vesttal, for my name is Kenneth C. Lindsey. I'm a bit younger 74 Ken and Christine came to visit us in Chadds Ford, PA christine brought her Harpsichord and a friend w/ a Strad. Reeal fun people I am saddened to learn the newe late as it is.
Ken 05/10/12

Kelly said...

Hi, Ken.

Yes, it was a great loss when Ken passed away. Christine is still alive and full of spunk, and I am sure she would love to hear from you!

Warmly, Kelly