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John W. Kern, III, the longest-serving judge in the District of Columbia, died at home of pneumonia and Alzheimer's on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at the age of 89.
In 1968, Kern was appointed to the D.C. Court of Appeals, the highest appellate court in the District of Columbia. He retired on December 31, 2011, at which time the D.C. Commission on Judicial Disabilities and Tenure remarked: "John will always be remembered for his legal ability, productivity, diligence, and courtesy."
Kern attended the Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia and then Princeton University, graduating in 1949. He received a law degree from Harvard University and then served in the Central Intelligence Agency. During his legal career in Washington, he served in the United States Attorney's Office; the law firm of Kilpatrick, Ballard and Beasley; and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Judge Kern had a keen interest in continuing judicial education. Upon taking senior status he served as the Dean of the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada. In 1989, he founded and directed the Harold R. Medina Seminar for State and Federal Judges on the Humanities and Science, held annually at Princeton University, which was later re-named the Kern-Medina Seminar in his honor.
Kern is survived by his beloved wife Margaret "Peggie" Cantlin-Kern, whom he met first at the courthouse; five children; eight grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. His first marriage to Nancy Park Kern ended in divorce.
The family will hold a service at Oak Hill Cemetery on March 6 at 1:30 p.m., followed by a Memorial Reception at the Metropolitan Club at 3:30 p.m. Friends are invited to send contributions, in lieu of flowers, to the .

Published in The Washington Post on Feb. 18, 2018
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