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Remarks made at Kenn Graddick's Memorial Service, November 18, 2005


We, the San Francisco Opera Supernumeraries are paid to be silent, so I am not the public speaker that I feel I should be to give a proper tribute to my friend. On stage, Kenn exuded stateliness, though he never sought the spotlight, unlike some of us hams! Still, he was a star in my life.

Long ago, Kenn walked into my salon for a manicure and we spent an hour together on a semi-weekly basis for over 25 years. We developed a bond that comes from sharing life's many experiences. I rejoiced at his happiness with his marriage to Francee and when Chandler came into their lives and Kenn's great pride in their many accomplishments. And he endured my Richter-scale rantings after breakups with boyfriends, broken engagements and even a bad end to a difficult marriage. He would reel me in with that sweet, small smile that said, "I know you're a bigger person than this." There he was, that signpost that promised that there were good-hearted honorable men out there and Kenn would listen as I talked out my pain. He was a cornerstone to the foundation of my life. I never had to question whether he would be there for me. He proved it many times.

When we lose someone we love, it tears out a space in our souls. We can fill up that void with the best of the person we have lost, incorporating those qualities into our spirit and thereby keeping them with us always. To my heart, I have added a great portion of graciousness, courage and a deep strength that comes from the power of enduring, so that when I need those qualities, Kenn will be there.

- Kimberly Thompson