A Remembrance of Irving Kass

Cay Hehner

[Reprinted from the Henry George News, January-April, 2005]

Personal Letter to a friend I almost never knew I had!

It is strange Irving, since you left, people have approached me about you and I have approached them. It was so sudden and sure caught all of us by surprise. Most of all Elizabeth and your mother perhaps, and your next of kin and your friends!

I always counted you among my friends as a matter of course, although now I realize I never really realized that friendship!

I was going to call you after New Year's and talk about your work and some projects. One should never postpone something till tomorrow that one can get done today. Remember that saying? If there were no other reasons, this would surely be one!

You were always one of the good guys for me. Since the days in the early nineties when we both were volunteers teachers at the Henry George School at its new location on 30th Street. Robert Clancy was still around guiding the Institute with his inimitable presence, George Collins was director then and Lindy Davies his assistant. Sydney Mayers was teaching Applied Economics and Fryda Ossias was teaching Evolution of Economic Science. Nibaldo Aguilera was teaching Spanish P & P, and Bruce Oatman, fresh back from teaching Social Science at a College upstate NY, distinguished himself as a master student. Remember the days?

You didn't drink or smoke and lived as healthily as only celestial beings would, so I don't remember going out with you much. But I do remember your presence, sharp, pleasant, and determined. We sure agreed on the fundamentals, and both being spontaneous in our encounters took to each other like brethren in the spirit would, brothers long lost who now had reencountered. You were so much part of the mental make-up of the School that nobody really can imagine it being without you!

Strangest of things the Sherlock Holmes work that needs to be done to understand your life better and share it with those closest to you what has it unearthed! It's a cliché, one should not talk negatively about the deceased! But in your case I would be certainly embarrassed if I were pressed to do so: I couldn't. All that the sleuth work has unearthed was exclusively good. Your multifarious activities, qualities, and qualifications! In fact I unearthed a couple of things that I didn't know about during your life time and that proved your irreplaceable value for the cause and even with regards to my work!

I knew, and if only instinctively, intuitively, more than overtly and consciously, that you were a friend. What a formidable and faithful ally you were I only really learned after you passing!

Although I cannot perhaps prove this conclusively in the realm of empiricism I am almost certain you are somehow still with us, you are still working for the cause and, yes, you are still the formidable and faithful ally you have always been almost and sorely partially unbeknownst to us. I do not know if we can do anything more for you? Please let us know if we can! But I know how painfully you are missed and how much you could or can still do for us.

Fare thee well, Irving, and rest assured in the Spirit we shall always be with you, your brethren of the Earth.