Kansas Action for Children had the pleasure of working with Larry J. Kane for 11 years. On March 24, KAC and Larry’s friends and family came together to remember him. We also unveiled a memorial art piece that hangs in KAC’s conference room.
I had the privilege of working closely with Larry Kane from his first day of service as a board member at Kansas Action for Children. During his 11 years of service, Larry served two terms as the organization’s treasurer and one term as the chairman of the board. As treasurer, Larry met with me monthly, combing through the organization’s financial statements, dutifully inquiring about anything he didn’t understand or that looked out of the ordinary.
We often reviewed financial statements over lunch in Lawrence, where Larry worked and lived. I looked forward to these lunches because Larry provided guidance not only around the organization’s financial management, but also around my development as a young professional. At some difficult moments in the organization’s history, Larry provided a great sounding board and a steady hand. As we remember Larry’s devoted service to Kansas children today, I am recalling three things about the man I admired:
Larry brought a deep commitment to his community and to the state’s children. In addition to his many years of service on the KAC board, Larry devoted his time to local charities like the United Way of Douglas County. During our lunches Larry often spoke fondly about his own children, recognizing that many children in our state are not as fortunate … and for those children he longed to make a difference. Larry was particularly passionate about young children, devoted to advocating for access to high-quality early care and education.
Over the years, as I got to know Larry, I also came to realize that his passion for bluegrass music was a big part of him. Each year, Larry would make the trip to the Walnut Valley Music Festival in Winfield. In fact, over the years we organized KAC’s September board meeting around Larry’s trip, so he wouldn’t miss providing the treasurer’s report.
But perhaps the thing I remember most about Larry was the powerful sense of integrity you got from him the moment you met him, and his commitment to being a good steward of the organization’s resources. Larry always struck me as someone who tried to do the right thing every day and that was certainly always the case in his service to Kansas Action for Children.
–Shannon Cotsoradis, KAC president and CEO
Larry Kane left a quiet impression – yet he was a man with provocative insights about ideas and people. He was, indeed, a unique musical instrument tuned to the needs of children. We remember him for how his spirit brightened our board meetings, for how his ever-ready smile brought music in its own way. His eyes shared his truths and his concerns for Kansas’ children and the families to whom they belonged. He owned and shared the greater truth: These children of Kansas belong to all of us; we neglect them at our own future regret, peril and risk.
May his spirit light our ways as we advocate for children, the adults who will take our places tomorrow. May his values light our ways and encourage us in difficult times.
May child advocacy consume our days and may we remember Larry as we strive to honor his memory as we forge policies to protect and nurture the children of the great state of Kansas.
–Susan Garlinghouse, vice chair of resource development, KAC Board of Directors