Kenneth Aran: 1922-2015

   In the long run, all that will remain of most of us will be whatever memories accrue among those we leave behind. When they are gone, so are we. Few will make the pages of the NYT, but some people deserve a wider remembrance than just family and friends.

   Kenneth was born April 3, 1922 in New York City and grew up during the Great Depression as the only child of a single mother, shining shoes and caddying for golfers in order to help out.

   Serving in the 11th Armored Division, Patton’s Third Army, in World War 2 was the defining experience of his life. His was one of the units which participated in the liberation of Mauthausen concentration camp, and as the only German speaker in his unit, he was deeply affected by the experience.

   Ken was born to teach. He had a long and fulfilling teaching career that he adored. Frequently voted most popular teacher, he never took a single sick day. Ken developed the curriculums for Puerto Rican, African American and Holocaust studies for the entire NYC high school system – these inclusive subjects had never been taught before he researched them and made them available to his students.

   He became an interviewer for Steven Spielberg’s Shoah foundation and interviewed scores of Holocaust survivors. In addition, he was a passionate advocate for the civil rights movement, and marched for peace during the Vietnam War.

   Family remained one of the most important things in his life, and that included not just immediate family but also all the extended elderly and infirm relatives that nobody else cared about; he continued to take care of all until the end of their lives.

   A nut for physical fitness, Ken loved golf, folk dancing, biking, hiking and skiing. In fact, as recently as a couple of years ago he could be seen tearing across Rancho Viejo on his skis with his puppy at his side.

   We hope to always hold in our hearts his unique way of seeing the world with a childlike wonder, and his utter joy in the simplest delights of life.

   To everything there is a season,
   and a time to every purpose under heaven:
   A time to be born and a time to die.
   A time to weep and a time to laugh.
   A time to mourn and a time to dance.

Interview by USC Shoah Foundation

One Reply to “Kenneth Aran: 1922-2015”

  1.    My wife and I have known Ken and his wife for over forty years and for forty years we have enjoyed the company of one of the few people I could honestly call ” a gentleman and a scholar” – and a damn fine human being in the bargain.
    The world is poorer today.
    RIP Ken. April 3, 1922 – October 31, 2015. A long life, well lived.

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