5/31/1931 - 8/5/2013
Lee R. Kerschner, 82, of Weimar, CA, passed away peacefully at his home on August 5, 2013, after losing a brief but courageous battle with brain cancer. In death, as in life, his loving family and friends surrounded him.
The son of Joseph and Nancy Kerschner, Lee was born in New York City, NY, on May 31, 1931. Following graduation from high school, he went on to earn a B.A. in political science from Rutgers University, a M.A. in international relations from The John Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. in political science from Georgetown University.
Lee pursued a very fulfilling and prestigious career in higher education, spanning more than 45 years, which included positions as vice chancellor for administrative affairs in the California State University Chancellor's Office; executive director of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education; executive director of the National Association of Trade and Technical Schools and executive secretary of its Accrediting Commission; executive director of the California Commission for the Review of the Master Plan for Higher Education; senior vice chancellor for academic affairs in the California State University Chancellor's Office; interim-president of California State University, Stanislaus; executive vice chancellor/chief operating officer for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities; and special assistant to the President of the California Maritime Academy. His career began in 1961 at CSU Fullerton, where he was a founding member of the political science department and later served as statewide dean of faculty. His distinguished military service culminated in his retirement as a Colonel in the United States Air Force Reserve.
Throughout the years Lee became a mentor and academic advisor to the many students and colleagues who had the privilege of working with him. He was greatly loved by his family colleagues and friends and will be missed tremendously.
Lee is survived by: his loving wife of 55 years, Helga (Koller) Kerschner; daughter, Riza Bell and husband Don; four sons and three daughters-in-law, David Kerschner and wife Kanean, Gabriel Kerschner and wife Barbi, Donaldo Vazquez, and Jakob Kerschner and wife Meher; 16 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren (the 4th on the way). Lee is also survived by his sister Lois Carl and was preceded in death by his brother, Paul Kerschner.
The family wishes to extend their gratitude to Rosa Vazquez and Julia Fahrenbruch for their continued love and support, which has spanned unfailingly throughout the years. Your involvement in our family and traditions has been an integral piece of our history. To the innumerable friends and colleagues who sent well wishes and anecdotes of Lee's impact on your life, we thank you. Your words had a profound impact on his final days, and your caring sentiments will not be forgotten. To reiterate his final toast made one week before his passing - "L'chaim!"…To Life! Forever in our hearts…we miss you
"The leader of the band is tired and his eyes are growing old, but his blood runs through my instrument and his song is in my soul. My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man, I'm just a living legacy to the leader of the band." Lyrics by Dan Fogelberg
A Memorial service will be held at the Lazy K Ranch, 1211 Ponderosa Way, Weimar, on Sunday August 25 at 11:00 am.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to: Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36104