Sunday, July 7, 2019

Charles W. Kinnaird, Jr. Age 89

Last week Cedar's Uncle Charlie passed away in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Oh the stories I could tell (and will), but for now I'm going to leave this in the hands of his son and my cousin Chuck:

On Tuesday evening, July 2nd, the world lost a wonderful and unique individual, who was widely loved and admired. 

My father, Charles W. Kinnaird, Jr, passed away in his sleep after a short illness. 

He learned at an early age that teaching was to be his avocation. This passion for teaching enabled him to reach all of his students from the top of the class to the bottom, all equally well. There were no favorites with him while he was imparting his knowledge – to which I can attest to when I was his student. 

His teaching career unfolded in four distinct stages, with the first foray into his chosen profession being in the Air Force during the Korean Conflict. 

While at Keesler Air Force Base he taught English to NATO air traffic controllers from Spain, Italy, France and Germany, thus tapping into his multilingual talents. 

After his separation from the service he went back to his alma mater and taught English at West Virginia University for a few years and then moved to New Jersey and set up camp for 35 years. 

It was at River Dell Senior High School that he had his biggest impact. He helped devise a unique Humanities Program given to the High School Seniors which enriched 1000’s of student’s lives by exposing them to “The Classics” of art, architecture, music and literature. 

His final chapter of lecturing took place in retirement where he became a Ship Board Destination Lecturer on a variety of Cruise Lines. This enabled he and my mother to take a total of 55 cruises – literally around the world. 

And 55 does appear to be a magic number, as that is the number of anniversaries he was able to share with the love of his life, Peggy. Their shared interest of teaching and traveling allowed them to have a rewarding and exciting life together. 

As his son it is hard to have asked for a better father. In addition to being a loving and caring person, he was supportive in any endeavor that I wished to pursue regardless of how far the request was outside of his comfort zone. 

I also recognized with age that he began imparting wisdom upon me early on – probably at birth – thinking that I would follow his advice right then and there; however, in truth the understanding of said knowledge was decades away...if ever. 

In addition, as I matured I began to recognize his dry wit and could not help wonder for how long had I been the recipient of a comment at my expense. 

I wish to end this salute to my father with a sampling of an interaction I had with him while growing up and is very representative of a “day in the life.” 

ME: Dad, I have a test in English class today. 

CWK: Yes. 

ME: I’m having a hard time using the word “motif” in a sentence. 

CWK: He hit me in the mouth and I have no motif... 

We will not be having a funeral service for him, as he has already been cremated, but will be having a celebration of life party for him on Monday afternoon at the retirement community where they have resided for the past 20 years. 

We are requesting that no flowers be sent, but should you wish, you could make a donation to the Disabled American Veterans – a charity that he actively supported throughout his life: DAV Charitable Service Trust

Peggy Charlie and Cedar's Sister

Cedar's Cousin Chuck resides in Chicago where he owns a sailing "yacht" and enjoys the Chicago Cubs. Chuck is more formally: 

Dr. Charles Kinnaird 
Clinical Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology University of Illinois College of Medicine Department of Ophthalmology
Assistant Chief, Optometry Section at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center and Associate Professor at the Illinois College of Optometry, while also serving as a member of the Optometry Department attending staff at the Mile Square Health Center. 

He teaches and lectures on ophthalmology. 


Unknown said...

Rest in peace, Mr. took me 20 years to puzzle out the truth about the Quackayudle Indians of the Pacific Northwest...good one! I hope you're laughing in Heaven.

Thanks for everything, especially that 11th hour save. You were my angel once and I've never forgotten your kindness. I think of you fondly and often.

Love to your family,


Anonymous said...

I didn't know Mr. Kinnaird but I'm fascinated by his Air Force experience, teaching English to NATO Air Traffic Controllers.

I wonder if he ever gave it much thought? In all seriousness if it hadn't been for people like Mr. Kinnaird we commercial pilots might be speaking German or Italian all over the world or worst every international flight would need pilots who would be required to be multilingual.

Thank you for your service, and teachers you know are automatically saints.

God Speed Mr. Kinnarid.

Anonymous said...

Life is a baseball game, swings and misses, grand slams, out at first and then out at home and just when all seems lost it base on balls and you walk home.

Bottom of the 8th no one on and Mr. Kinnaird hit a rocket deep. 89 years like 8 innings in a baseball game never seems long enough. Some games are rained out and called in the 5th. In the end it really is about how you played the game.

Game well played sir well played indeed. Now you're safe at home!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful Tribute.

RIP Mr. Kinnaird

Anonymous said...

Sorry for your loss Cedar. RIP Mr. Kinnaird

Anonymous said...

I worked with Mr. Kinnard. He was always a gentleman with great dignity and class. His students loved him and admired him. He was bright, a great and learned man and a kind and giving human being. He demanded excellence because that was what he gave to his students. I am glad he lived a long life and enjoyed all the days after his retirement. We were all lucky to have known him.

Unknown said...

I only learned of this sad news today. Mr. Kinnaird was an inspiring and brilliant teacher, indeed. I had the very good fortune to be one of his Humanities students at River Dell in 1975-76, and he invited me to teach his classes on Senior Teaching Day. Mr. Kinnaird was precise and rigorous and yet so very kind. He was an inspiration to me in my own teaching career (I use some of his methods even today!). I lived near him in Oradell and saw him frequently, but we last communicated by telephone about 20 years ago. He was a marvelous man. I am happy that his life was so long and full. His students will never forget him. My condolences to his family and friends.

Gaudiamus Igitur and Rest in Peace, Mr. Kinnaird.

Steven Semken, RDHS '76
Professor of Geology, Arizona State University

Anonymous said...

RIP Mr. Kinnaird, Humanities Class was my Favorite in high School because of you
And Mr. Weed.

You were a wonderful teacher, will never forget you!

Des class of ‘90

Anne Marie Scully Gold said...

I just found this obituary of Mr. Kinnaird when I was googling him, gathering information for an essay I am writing about my favorite high school classes. To me he will always be CWK, B.S. M.A. which is how he introduced himself to all his new students.

I was one of her earliest students, graduating for River Dell in 1967. He was an inspiration to me in so many ways. He challenged us, he made us laugh, and he helped us succeed. My senior class was the first one to which the Humanities program was introduced. I remember so well how he and his colleagues brought together the world of history, opera, and literature to open our minds in altogether new and exciting ways.

I can only wish I could have been on one of those cruises where he was a lecturer - he must have been fabulous. I'm so sorry to hear of your loss but know that he changed so many lives in so many ways.

Unknown said...

hi, i was a student of mr kinnaird during 80-81. i still oddly remember some of his teachings these many years later. appreciated him as a teacher. sorry to hear of his passing.

Brian Boden said...

I just stumbled onto this report of Mr. Kinnaird's passing. I was an honor English student with him at River Dell NJ (RDHS class of 1965). He was a wonderful person and a super teacher.

He usually played classical music with a portable record player (vinyl) when we were taking tests. He often started a class with the question, "Does anyone have any juicy news?" I helped him organize some fundraisers like the student car wash, and ran errands for things needed for those in his 1965 Corsair Monza, a neat and under-rated car that he freely let me drive, and he was always upbeat and shared his role with the students, so we learned a lot. I remember him setting us up for an essay assignment, a lesson on perspective, and he pointed to the classroom wall (painted block), and had us first look at it like we were stone masons, then as a painter, then as an artist, then other roles, and so on. Although I became an engineering project manager, I have always loved writing and the English language, and I got a lot of that from his English classes. Some years ago I was Googling him but could not tell which the several persons with the same name was our River Dell teacher, all the info was for other venues, so I am glad I found this but sorry about his passing.

My condolences to the family, and know that yes, as both a teacher in the fullest sense of the word and as a person, he was super, and we're all lucky to have had him in our lives in one way or another.