Saying Good-bye Is Never An Easy Thing
My extended family lost a beloved member this week, but we celebrate a long life, well-lived
Sometimes time passes and you hardly notice. Then, time passes and you realize that so many things have changed that the world is forever different.
One of those changes involves age and the inevitable process that eventually means the end of life on earth.
This week, we lost a member of my extended family – someone I had admired long before I became part of this family.
Sheldon Kamen was a Wichita business and government leader when I arrived here as a newcomer in 1990. He was a vibrant, hard-working, energetic forward thinker who insisted that old warehouse buildings in the center of the city might one day be valuable for residences and businesses and should be rehabilitated and not torn down.
He was right. The whole area that Wichita now calls “Old Town” is full of those kinds of buildings and many of them are admired for the signs of history that dot their walls and ceilings.
He was also into recycling before it became a “green” thing. He just thought that it was a shame to see anything to waste, especially things like aluminum, which could easily be re-used. So he started one of the first metal recycling businesses in the city.
I admired his courage in stepping out to advocate things that most of Wichita hadn’t really thought much about at the time.
About eight years ago, when I met Dave Dewhirst, I learned that his son, Brian, was married to Sheldon’s daughter, Diane. And so, in a roundabout way, I became part of a family whose extensions included Sheldon Kamen.
For the last several years, he and his wife, Janice, have been part of family gatherings even if Brian and Diane, who are both doctors practicing in Charleston, S.C., couldn’t be here. So it is with great sadness that we say farewell to Sheldon in this life and look forward to knowing him in the next.
It is always sad to lose someone in the holiday season and even sadder that we will hold Sheldon’s funeral on the first full day of Chanukkah, (or Hanukkah as it is widely known) which began at sunset today, Saturday Dec. 8. It is however, comforting to know that Sheldon’s light is part of the Festival of Lights and surely the lights of Chanukkah are shining brighter around the world with the addition of the spirit that was his.