- The Washington Times - Friday, May 6, 2005

Michael Kernan, 78, features writer

Michael Kernan, an award-winning journalist and author who wrote for The Washington Post’s Style section for 23 years, died of pancreatic cancer May 4 at his home in Bennington, Vt. He was 78.

Born April 29, 1927, in Utica, N.Y., Mr. Kernan grew up in Clinton, N.Y., and graduated from Deerfield Academy. He graduated with honors from Harvard University in 1949.

After graduating, he worked as a reporter at the Watertown Daily Times in New York. He then worked as a reporter and city editor at the Redwood City Tribune in California from 1953 to 1966.

He joined The Post in 1967 as a city editor but soon became a writer for the paper’s fledgling Style section. For 23 years, his humanity and sparkling writing charmed even the most reluctant interviewees. Some of the notables he profiled include Eli Wiesel, Gen. Maxwell Taylor, Jack Benny, Woody Allen, Gene Kelly and Richard Dreyfuss.

After leaving The Post, he was a contract writer for Smithsonian Magazine.

His novel, ?The Lost Diaries of Frans Hals,? was published in 1994 by St. Martin’s Press and was translated into French, German and Dutch. In 1977, his nonfiction book on the life of a British coal miner who survived World War I’s Battle of the Somme was published by Braziler.

His short story, ?The Doll Named Silvio,? won first prize in the London Times ghost story contest in 1975.

Mr. Kernan won an American Political Science Association distinguished reporting award and fellowship in 1960, and first prize in an Associated Press regional feature contest in 1961.

He was awarded a Knight journalism fellowship at Stanford University in 1986-87.

Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Margot Starr Kernan of Bennington; two sons, Nathan Kernan of New York City and Nicholas Kernan, an employee at The Washington Times, of Cheverly; a daughter, Lisa Kernan of Los Angeles; a daughter-in-law, Mayumi Kernan of Cheverly; and two grandchildren, Elizabeth Yuri Kernan and James Taro Kernan, both of Cheverly.

A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. May 10 at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Williamstown, Mass.

Memorial donations can be made to the Visiting Nurse and Hospice Association of Bennington and Hospice of Bennington County in care of Mahar Funeral Home, 628 Main St., Bennington, VT 05201.

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