KENYON S. CARDOZA, D.D.S. February 7, 1931 – July 3, 2017 Ken was born in West Haven, Conn. where he was cared for by his Grandparents, Cora and Ernest Schuster, while his Mother, Florence [Schuster] was employed as Executive Secretary to the President of a nearby School for Girls during the time her husband, Ken’s Father, Thomas, was attending Yale University. Dad became a physician and Grandpa Schuster died, whereupon the little family, including Grandmother ‘Co’, moved to a lovely home/office on Staten Island [N. Y.] where Ken led an idyllic boyhood, his happiness amplified by the arrival of a baby Brother called ‘Tommy’ whom he adored, who was his Best Friend for life. He attended Curtis High School and upon graduation was accepted into The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. His Father had insisted he go into Business rather than Medicine and Ken graduated from Wharton in 1952, in spite of having come to the conclusion that Business was not for him. It was at this point he met the eighteen year old girl he was to marry on the following July 18, 1953, just one year to the day after they met. Ken was twenty-one and learning to fly as part of the Air Force Cadet Program; Penelope Roese was just nineteen with a budding career as a Model when she took her very first plane trip to join him in a small town in Missouri. She arrived carrying a Hatbox filled with little white gloves, high heels, her favorite stuffed animal and a selection of Vinyls, along with a portable phonograph on which to play them. She had known nothing but N.Y.C. and S. I.; here she was met with dirt roads instead of sidewalks, and surrounded by mostly unintelligible but eventually heart-warming accents and attitudes. They were married by the first Minister who happened to open the door to his tiny [but well-decorated from the day-before-wedding] church with three witnesses who’d been pulled from the CrackerBarrel outside the church. When friends and relations discovered the Elopement, they said It Would Never Last. While in the Air Force, he discovered he didn’t fancy flying, especially when it involved the shooting of a fellow human-being; a boy of his own tender age, Korean or not. When the Air Force heard he was married, they asked, "Who comes first, the Air Force or Your Wife?" He gave the only right answer and after the required minimum of two years and having had good counsel from an Air Force Dentist, found his way back to New York University, where he spent two years in pre-med courses before entering NYU School of Dentistry, graduating in 1960, sustained by the G.I. Bill of Rights and his wife’s burgeoning career as a model. Penny’s Mother gave them a beautiful Convertible and they drove across country with all their worldly possessions in the back seat, landing in San Francisco where Ken had accepted a Residency with the V. A. Hospital. Fate stepped in, when a new acquaintance invited them to a party at a stranger’s apartment where Ken shortly found himself trying to prevent a young lady from being strangled by her drunken boyfriend who was holding her by her throat against a wall. The man turned his attention to Ken, pushing him away. There was Ice spilled on the floor and Ken slipped, his leg going out from under him at a very odd angle. An Ambulance was called, along with the Police, the guests tried to hold the culprit but he had left in the ensuing pandemonium. Ken was now a patient at the V. A. Hospital rather than an Intern. It was a spiral fracture, very bad; along the way he almost died of an Embolism, he was in a long leg cast for over a year. He was recovering and finally able to leave the hospital when Penny’s sister, whose husband was with NBC in New York, came to see them, bringing with her three tickets enabling them to go to Honolulu, Hawaii on NBC’s dime. While in Hawaii, Ken looked up his NYU classmate, Ed Neuwirth, who told him about a new program he’d had a hand in creating at The Queen’s Hospital. Ed introduced Ken to the wonderful Will Henderson, who hired Ken on the spot to join Ed as a Dental Resident. Ken and Penny went back to California to once again pack Everything into their car and move to Hawaii, taking up residence at The Islander Hotel in 1961. In those days, one had to have lived in the Islands for one year before being eligible to take the exam for a dental license. He waited; finally setting up his own office in the Alexander Young Hotel, and after that fine building had been torn down, the  Dillingham Transportation Building. He had been led to and finally found his Life’s Work in a profession he truly loved. No, to the many who assumed he was, Ken wasn’t from Cuba. During his time at Wharton, he was greatly influenced by Dr. Rafael Suarez, his Spanish Language Professor, who chose Ken and three other top students for a summer educational trip to Cuba. At that time, Carlos Prio Socarras was in power. Still in his teens, Ken learned to love the Island and its people. He also developed a strong social conscience. Though the boys, through their Professor, became privileged guests of the private clubs and the very best society had to offer, they also got to see the seamy side of Havanaand the heart-searing contrast was not lost on at least one of them. Ken went back to the University of Havana on his own the next summer; this time Batista was in power. He was warned by his friends to stay away from certain groups of young men who would congregate in the hallways. "They are trouble-makers, Socialists", his mentors warned him and yes, he saw a man shot on the steps of the Capitolio during that particular visit. Something was afoot. What had started out as a lark, a chance to visit a beautiful tropical location, to better one’s language skills, now had Ken immersed in the serious study of Cuban History. And he continued to go back, learning more each time until he had seen and understood the reigns of three ‘Dictators’ throughout the 40’s and 50’s and better understood the influence of the United States in all of this. When Fidel Castro came down from the mountains with a small band of men [including Che Guevara] and ousted Batista, Ken felt it was time to return to Cuba, this time with his wife, to study the Revolucion. They were there for Christmas ’59 and the New Year 1960. In the years to come, he and his family made many happy visits, always coming away with favorable impressions of the hospitality, the nature of the people and above all, the wonderful music, a constant, everywhere. About twenty-five years ago, Ken’s doctor told him he should take his wife on a world-cruise, as not only did he have Prostate Cancer, but it had spread to his bones. He had about a year to live, quality time, and probably a year and a half to two years of any kind of time. Following Dr. Nathan Lane’s work with Shark Cartilege, Ken was also in touch with similar research being done in Cuba. When his next tests came back clean, no sign of bone involvement, his doctors called it an ‘Anomaly’ while we, his Family, accepted it as a Miracle. We thought we would be granted a second miracle, but this time it was Lung Cancer and he was 86; it was not to be. Just in time, his brother, Tom Cardoza, came and took care of us for five uplifting weeks; after he left, Ken spiraled down, he had no appetite and grew increasingly weak until he was unable to get out of bed. After a perilous surgery over three years ago, then the usual round of Radiation, et cetera, he refused all medication, saying he was in no pain whatsoever. Clear-minded to the end, Ken died of Lung Cancer at home with his wife, Penelope, and daughter, Donnez Cardoza-Hunter as his Caregivers. He was the most courageous man we have ever met, that and the memory of his wonderful sense of humor enable us to carry on as he would have wished. Until We Meet Again, Ken! Survivors include: Penelope, his wife of 64 years, his daughter, Donnez, a son, Kenneth Geering of New Jersey, his brother, Tom [Patricia] Cardoza of South Carolina, a nephew, Mark Surles [Stacey and 3 children] of Alabama, his Granddaughter, Devan ‘Addie’ [Bradly] Wilkinson of Yosemite, and three Greatgrandchildren, Braydon, Coco [named for Ken’s beloved Grandmother, Cora Schuster], and Delilah Everly Wilkinson, born on November 21st, 2017. Private Family Services were held on July 8th. We thank all of you who came from the Mainland to help us during these last days, and those who were unable to be here but sent loving words, thoughts, such as David Shedivy: "He led a charmed life, and charmed us while he was doing it." Also Sharon, Michael & Sophie Gralapp, John Leahy, Honolulu Dental Society, and so many others to whom I owe notes. The Family would appreciate any donations, no matter how small [they add up, you know] in Ken’s memory to be made to: Aloha Medical Mission, Hawaiian Humane Society, Public Radio, Public Television or a favorite Charity of your own. Online just press the buttons: Donations, Tribute. et cetera.
Notice #: 0001056809-01