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In Memoriam

Kenneth Roy Graddick (Kenn) was born November 30, 1949 in Detroit, Michigan to Willie and Uletha Graddick and passed away peacefully in his sleep November 10, 2005. As a child, he learned good values and integrity from his family. He earned the rank of Eagle in the Boy Scouts of America Organization. He was also a member of Junior Achievement of America, an organization that teaches respect and excellence.

In 1967, Kenn graduated from MacKenzie High School in Detroit and attended Eastern Michigan University . The U.S. Army called Kenn to serve his country in 1970. He was trained as a paratrooper with the 101 st Airborne Brigade and served a tour of duty in Vietnam. He was honorably discharged in 1972 and returned to Michigan, where he resumed his employment with Bell Telephone. In 1977, Kenn headed west to pursue a career in filmmaking. He enrolled in the Berkeley Film School where he met his loving wife, Francee Covington.

Kenn was a pioneer in the computer and telecommunications industries for more than 35 years. Well versed in all aspects of computer operations and data communications, he held positions with several Fortune 500 Companies, most recently with Levi Strauss & Co.

His parents, Willie Henry and Uletha Olivia Graddick, preceded him in death. Surviving are his loving wife of 22 years, Francee Covington and his beloved son, Chandler Covington Graddick; five brothers, Charles (Rosetta) Graddick, William Graddick, Judge (Maxine) Graddick, Alan Graddick, Ralph (Mary) Graddick; one sister, Debra (Ted) Williams; and a host of nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.

Kenn's hobbies included photography, and volunteering for civic organizations. He developed a passion for opera in 1999. He had non-singing roles and served as a lightwalker for the San Francisco Opera. He was last seen as a Supernumerary in the 2005 L’Italiana in Algieri. However, Kenn's true passion was jazz.

Donations may be sent in Memory of Kenneth Graddick, to the San Francisco Opera - Education Programs, 301 Van Ness Avenue , San Francisco , CA 94102 . Funeral services were held on Friday, November 18, 1:00 p.m. at The Bryant Mortuary Chapel, 635 Fulton Street , San Francisco.


I only knew him for the run of Italiana, but instantly bonded to him and his wise and pragmatic approach to our shared opera experience. I was very impressed by his ability to study textbooks steadily one right after another while we waited in our dressing room with the music and stage calls whirling all around us, while my own single textbook sat forlornly unstudied.

Kenn was that rare person with whom I felt an instant and easy friendship, who took what was apparently the many facets of a rich life in a confident, calm stride. This was the Kenn Graddick I knew - may you rest in peace, fellow freed Italian slave. And may courage and strength be with all of you left behind - we will all miss him. - Tom Walsh

I was just in the one opera (Italiana) with him and didn't get a chance to spend too much time with Kenn but I found him to be a bright, gentle and kind individual who seemed to care about the world around him. He also seemed healthy and full of life so his sudden death comes as a great surprise. It certainly teaches us to enjoy each day (and each show) as though it were our last. I guess you just never know. - Ron Mann

Eulogy by Kimberly Thompson

Anyone wishing to contribute an anecdote, reminiscence, or remembrance to this page is welcome to email the editor.