Jean Doris Kahn died of old age on June 6, 2020, with her son Jory by her side, after having not seen family in months due to COVID protocol. She was 95 years old.
A long time Palisadian, Jean and husband Benjamin settled in Pacific Palisades in 1956. The youngest of three children, Jean was born in the Bronx to Russian and Romanian immigrants George Malkin and Rebecca (Ruth) Liebowitz.
Jean was a natural artist, lover of music, dance, and the dramatic arts. As a teen, she took Flamenco dancing lessons. She was outgoing, friendly and enthusiastic; her high school yearbook caption read, “Crazy as a jitterbug, but a whole lot of fun!”
She graduated from Hunter College in Brooklyn with a degree in art and textile design, and spent several years in textile design. Then she followed her older sister Naomi to the west coast and attended Cal Berkeley to pursue a master’s degree. There she met her Dutch husband-to-be, Benjamin Kahn, at the International House Dormitory. The couple married in New York, with friends and family attending from both sides of the Atlantic.
Ben secured his first job in the growing Los Angeles aeronautics and space industry, so the couple settled in Santa Monica. The couple welcomed their first-born Eric in 1956, Jory in 1958 and Alan in 1965.
While raising the boys, there was no stopping Jean’s artistic expression in various forms. She worked in resin, stained glass and macramé. She painted shoes and window blinds, and made novel houseplant pots from vinyl LPs she melted in the oven, selling her creations at outdoor markets.
She became a professional photographer, a graphic artist, a freelance writer, a poet and a professional clown. Many of her photos and articles were published in the Palisadian-Post.
Jean worked as a clown in the July 4th Independence Day parade for many years. She often worked for the Chamber of Commerce at various Palisades events, twisting balloon animals and face painting. She was long active in the Pacific Palisades Art Association, taking her turn as the president and primary event organizer.
She is survived by her sons Jory and Alan, and joins her husband Benjamin and eldest son Eric at Eden Memorial Park in Mission Hills. In a temporary respite of COVID lockdown, services took place outdoors, attended by almost 40 guests, led by longtime Kehillat Israel Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben.
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