Carolyn Cassady (Lyn) Kent died peacefully of heart failure at Mount Sinai Hospital, Saturday evening, August 22.

Lyn had been coping with cancer for the past 9 years which had caused her relatively little discomfort apart from two major surgeries.

We of her immediate family — her children Cassady,, Sarah, and Hannah and me as her husband — miss her terribly, as she was a central figure in our lives as she had been in our community where she contributed extensive public service.

Lyn was born in Rochester, NY, where her father, Maynard Lamar Cassady, was teaching religion at the University. Maynard was an ordained minister who had obtained his theology degree at Princeton. He met Lyn’s mother, Louise Virginia Sale, at William and Mary where she had been one of his students. Both embarked on careers of public service and were active advocates of civil rights. Maynard died relatively young while teaching at Crozier Theological Seminary where Martin Luther King, Jr. was at that time a student. His three daughters, Carolyn, Elizabeth, and Anne of which only Lyn was barely a teen were left with their mother who moved to Kalamazoo, Mich. as Dean of Women at Kalamazoo College. Louise later married Charles Johnson, pastor of First Presbyterian Church there.

Lyn attended Sarah Lawrence College as a full scholarship student where she served both as president of the student body and editor of the student newspaper.

Lyn and I had met as young teens at a Kent Fellowship conference. Maynard had been one of the first Kent Fellows. The group was founded by my grandfather, Charles Foster Kent, to enable those previously excluded by race, religion or funding needs to undertake graduate studies in religion. Both Louise and Charles did their graduate work in the Columbia/Union Theological Seminary complex.

Lyn, too, did her studies at Columbia (with a year at Oxford) where she did her M.A. with distinction in 17th Century English studies. Her teachers included the leading scholars, both women, in that field — Helen Gardner at Oxford, and Marjorie Nicholson at Columbia. Lyn’s interests in this field continued and she served for a number of years as Secretary of the Renaissance Text Society for which she arranged annual panels. But an even greater interest in architectural preservation drew her into service in that field where she was well known for her major contributions. For many years she carried these out with service to Manhattan’s Community Board Nine which spans Columbia and West Harlem.

Lyn’s mother’s family background was particularly interesting in that she was the last of seven children of one of Virginia’s so called First Families located located in Fairfield. She broke with its prejudices to become an an active civil rights worker, a tradition which she passed on to her children.

Lyn will be buried with her parents and stepfather in Fairfield. A memorial service will be planned.

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Edward Kent 212-866-6058 (voice mail only)
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