About Sybil Kahn

Sybil KahnI was born and raised in a small Michigan coal-mining and farming village with unpaved roads.  As a young preschooler, I was so desperate to learn to read that I followed the other children to school. I graduated from high school in the nearby community of Bay City, finishing my last year there in the art department. I enrolled in Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, where I earned degrees in Fashion, Art, and Design.

I then went on to the University of Michigan where I was chosen as student director at the Hillel Foundation, a social center for Jewish students. I had my first introduction to leadership in Jewish life and traditions when I took part in the Hillel programs, including the religious services. My future husband, Norman, was stationed nearby at an air force training center. Norman made frequent visits to Hillel–where I lived as well as worked–and he taught the women there how to grill a steak and make good soup.

Norman and I married while in Ann Arbor and spent many happy hours at the Music Festival that was conducted by the Philadelphia Symphony. We moved to Seattle where Norman was a pre-flight engineer for Boeing. I obtained a dual position with the Seattle Anti-defamation League and the Seattle Jewish Federation. While in Seattle, I also had my first introduction to a Sephardic (Spanish) Jewish Community.

Norman and I eventually moved to Kansas City, where I still reside. I earned a Masters degree in Social Work, focusing on community planning and psychiatric social work. My life–and Norman’s–were filled with public and professional leadership experiences in the fields of art, music, medicine, science, and education; as well as promoting the growth of Kansas City.

Among my endeavors in the art world was establishing an art gallery in Kansas City. I named it “Private Stock Gallery,” because the gallery was an offshoot of our private art collection that was assembled from our travels worldwide. Norman also loved the arts, volunteering as a docent at the famous Nelson-Atkins Museum for twenty-five  years. Together, we worked to set new levels of creative entrepreneurial benchmarks for Mid-America. Norman is now deceased, but our amazing family of three sons and a daughter, two grand daughters and a grandson, and three step children continue the legacy of innovation, joyful life, high achievement, and meeting the needs of others.

2 comments on “About Sybil Kahn

  1. Gary Israel says:

    I am the son of Dorothy Gillespie,artist/ sculptor who passed away in 2012 at the age of 92. I am connecting with all the people who knew my mother to inform them regarding my plans to preserve her art and her legacy.

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