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Michael Kernan

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BENNINGTON -- Michael Kernan, of Bennington, died at home on May 4, 2005, of cancer.

He was the beloved husband of Margot Starr; father of Nathan of New York City, Lisa of Los Angeles and Nicholas of Cheverly, Md., who has a wife, Mayumi, and two grandchildren, Elizabeth Yuri Kernan and James Taro Kernan; and brother of Jean Hodges of Scotts Valley, Calif.

Michael Kernan was born on April 29, 1927, in Utica, N.Y. He grew up in Clinton, N.Y., graduated from Deerfield Academy and Harvard College, cum laude.

He was a feature reporter for the Washington Post for 23 years, a top writer for the journalistically groundbreaking Style section, where his humanity and sparkling writing charmed even the most reluctant interviewees. Some of the notables he profiled included Eli Wiesel, Gen. Maxwell Taylor, Jack Benny, Volker Schlondorff, Gene Kelly and Richard Dreyfuss.

He was awarded the Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University in 1986-87, won an Associated Press regional feature first prize in 1961 and an American Political Science Association distinguished reporting award and fellowship in 1960.

His novel, “The Lost Diaries of Frans Hals,” was published by St. Martins Press in 1994, and translated into French, German and Dutch. In 1977, his non-fiction book on the life of a British coal miner who survived the deadly battle of the Somme in World War I was published by Braziller. His short story “The Doll Named Silvio” won first prize in the London Times ghost story contest in 1975.

A memorial service will be held at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Williamstown, Mass. on Tuesday, May 10, at 10:30 a.m., with the Rev. Peter Elvin, rector, officiating.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations are requested for the VNA & Hospice of Southwestern Vermont Health Care or to Hospice of Bennington County Inc. through the office of the Mahar & Son Funeral Home, 628 Main St., Bennington, VT 05201.

Published in Bennington Banner on May 6, 2005
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