NORTHEAST HIGH SCHOOL KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI

KENDALL KOHR - "Mayor of Independence Avenue"

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He never graduated from Northeast High School, but KENDALL was a well-known figure in the NE area. DANIEL PIERCE, Class of '66, suggested that he be made an "Honorary Viking". Many members of the Class of '69 felt he should be made a "Northeast Notable" and his colors are now ROYAL PURPLE & WHITE.
 
The last memory I have of KENDALL was over 35 years ago at the old A&P grocery store at Oakley & Independence Avenue. It later beame an auto parts store, etc. Me and my mother walked into the store and KENDAL said, "Hi."
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The following article appeared in the Sunday, March 28, 1999 edition of the "Kansas City Star". It was written by Donald Bradley.
 
"MAYOR OF INDEPENDENCE AVENUE" GETS FOND FAREWELL FROM NEIGHBORS"
 
Kendall Kohr was only a mayor, but his funeral Saturday was fit for a king. A crowd of 2,500 spilled into the street. Bagpipes blared. An honor guard marched. Kohr, the legendary, "Mayor of Independnece Avenue," would have loved it. Could have gotten a few Cokes at this gathering.
 
"Hi!" he often greeted those he met on the street, "Buy me a Coke?" And the funeral was at his favorite place in the world, Fire Station 23, where he ate dinner nightly and watched television with the firefighters. Right across the street was Gerry's Silver Slipper, where Kohr reciprocated for the Cokes by giving Juicy Fruit gum to the dancing girls.
 
Kohr, who died Monday of a heart attack at age 62, was mentally challenged after a head injury years ago. He had walked the Avenue as long as anyone could remember and was known for picking up trash along the way.
 
"His mission in life was to make everyone happy," said retired Fire Captain Joe Galetti.
 
Kohr was eulogized for his good humor, innocent nature and a llove of life that endeared him to a legion of friends. Helping him, they say, enriched their own lives.
 
"Senators and diplomats don't get funerals like this," Joe Pace said as he stood in the street after the service. "We all helped him, bought his cokes, gave him a couple of bucks. And none of us ever regretted it. Jus knowing him made me a better man."
 
Kohr was buried later in Arcadia, Kansas.
 
Last October, Kohr was robbed of $2.00 and severely beaten outside of a fast-ffod restaurant. Four men were charged. Police aare investigating whether his death was connected to the earlier attack. Kohr also suffered kidney failure and blood clots in his lung.
 
"I always envied the way he fearlessly walked this street," said Ed Kendrick, a dentist who had known Kohr for 24 years. "He was truly an example of the meek inheriting the earth."
 
Kohr, who lived in a house on the Avenue, had few relatives. His parents died in 1973. In his obituary, survivors included firefighters who worked at Station 23. He had his own chair there to watch television and he went there during storms when he was scared.
 
Dorothy Baker of Pittsburg, Kansas, was a distant cousin who spoke at the funeral. She told the hushed crowd that she didn't know what would become of Kohr after his parents died 26 years ago. "You fed him and you clothed him," Baker said. "You took him to the doctor and you bought him his Cokes. You reprimanded him when he needed it. You were his life. You were GOD's hands."
 
Kohr's funeral was more like a street festival. There were few suits and ties. Nobody, it seemed, wore black. Mourners - if the term applies - wore shorts, blue jeans and T-shirts. Children held balloons. The Fire Department served cake and when a fire engine blared its siren, a dog howled on the sidewalk. In a closing prayer, Fire DepartmentChaplain, Father James Taranto said: "Lord, keep him away from the dancing girls, but let him dance in your presence forever."
 
When the hearse pulled away from the station for the trip to Arcadia, people waved, whistled and yelled goodbye as "the Mayor" took a final ride down Independence Avenue.
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VIKING MEMORIES of KENDALL
 
"He used to go to Independence Boulevard Christian Church when I was about 12 yars old and for a few years after. Kendall always talked to everyone after church and also enjoyed doing his beist, in his own unique way, to sing along with the hymns. I grew up at 719 Monroe up the hill from Independence Ave and remember seeing Kendall screaming down the hill from Spruce to Monroe on his bike with his dog casing him from behind as I walked to Northeast High down Independence Avenue. I also remember him hanging out at the Dairy Way and talking to people after school as I walked home."
 
                 CHET GEARHART
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NOTE:  Anyone having comments they would like to make concerning Kendall, E-mail me and I will include them. Please keep your comments to just one paragraph.