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Light, Loss, Moving On

December 18, 2009

Tags: Virginia McKinney, Sylvan Katz, Larry Sultan, loss

These last weeks, months some very dear and important people have passed away. One of them was Virginia McKinney, a salty intrepid tireless educator of the deaf. I wrote about Virginia and her Center for Communicative Development for the LATimes years ago. Virginia lost her own hearing as an adult, as a reaction to a medication she was taking. She turned her insurance settlement into good works for helping other adult deaf learn to lip read and sign. I hope her son Walter will be able to continue the school.

Last Sunday, after attending a Chanukah party, Sylvan Katz passed away. Sylvan, a WW II vet, was a retired judge. I interviewed Sylvan for "The Souvenir." It was Sylvan who first told me that my father would be "rolling over in his grave" because I wanted to return the flag. We became good friends. He was a true mensch. He helped so many Filipino students go to college, repaying a debt to the hill tribes who assisted his Red Arrow Division during the Pacific War.

And Larry Sultan, a great photographer. Larry died too young, in his sixties. I didn't even know he was sick. We have one of his photos on the wall of our living room, two blind swimmers at ease in the water. Virginia, Sylvan, Larry... may you all be at ease wherever you are.

Here's to the light that these people brought into the world, and the afterglow we can still feel.


  1. December 19, 2009 8:55 PM EST
    Beautiful tributes, Louise. Thank you.

    - Julie