Friday, 20 August 2010 00:00
Edith C. Kern died on July 18 at her home in New Rochelle, N.Y. She lived in the Beacon Hill area of Port Washington for 37 years and also lived for a time in Manhasset. She had just celebrated her 95th birthday.
She was born Edith Nasella on July 16, 1915 in Philadelphia where she grew up as one of 16 children. She survived them all; her last sibling having passed away 23 years ago. It was a close family, but money was scarce especially during the Depression and she would recall having to walk many miles to school because she did not have a nickel for the streetcar. A fan of the Philadelphia Athletics baseball team, she was able to go to the games because the Athletics’ owner, Connie Mack, gave free tickets to students. One of her most vivid memories of that period was when she met the legendary Athletics’ pitcher Lefty Grove and his teammate pitcher George Earnshaw.
During World War II, and in the postwar years, she worked at various jobs in Washington, DC. She was employed as a hat model and also as a secretary for John McShain, a well-known building contractor who was known as “The Man Who Built Washington.” It was in Washington just after the war that she met her future husband, Louis J. Kern, a Navy Commander, who was then back in civilian life. They were married on January 24, 1948—although the famous blizzard of 1948 nearly derailed their plans—and she became a Navy wife when her husband went back into the service during the Cold War.
Commander and Mrs. Kern lived in a number of places during the late 1940s and early 1950s including Willow Grove, Pennsylvania and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. They finally settled down with their four children in Port Washington, their first permanent home. They lived there for 37 years and subsequently resided in Doylestown, Pennsylvania and Manhasset before eventually settling in New Rochelle. Commander Kern died in 2004.
When she moved to New York in the mid-1950s she became an avid fan of the New York Yankees and went to many games over the years. She attended a playoff game at the new Yankee Stadium this past fall at the age of 94 and was happy to have seen the Yankees win another World Championship.
Edith Kern is survived by four children: Louis of New Rochelle; Teri of Burlingame, California; Karen of New York City and John of Manhasset; six grandchildren: Kathleen of Bronxville, N.Y., Patricia of Aston, Pennsylvania, Susan and Deborah, both of New Rochelle, Matthew of Boston and Jack of Manhasset; and one great-grandchild, Joseph of Aston.