Born: Norfolk, VA on 10 December 1926

Passed away: Hickory, NC on 11 January 2015

Aged: 88 years

Funeral Date: 24 January 2015

Service Details

A memorial service is planned for Sat., Jan 24th at 2:00pm at Corinth Church, 150 16th Ave Northwest, Hickory, NC 28601

Memorials may be made in her memory to The Good Samaritan Fund, c/o Corinth Reformed Church, 150 16th Ave NW, Hickory, NC 28601 or to The Animal Rescue and Foster Program, by mail to P.O. Box 77393, Greensboro, NC 27417, or by Paypal at memo Mary Kahn.

Flowers may be ordered from Whitener Florist 828-324-6899. They have information for the service.

Bass-Smith Funeral Home in Hickory is serving the family of Mary Kahn and on-line condolences may be sent to

Funeral Company

Memorial Service at Corinth Church, Hickory, NC

The Story

Mary Kahn, 88, of Hickory, passed away Sunday, January 11, 2015 at Brian Center in Viewmont.

Mary was born December 10, 1926, in Norfolk, VA, to the late Margaret Owen Barrett and Ernest Eugene Plouff. She moved to Weems, VA, where she spent most of her childhood. It was in this relative poverty stricken area that she learned to get along with and help others, and it was here that she learned the value of cooperation and love of thy neighbor and community. It was also here that she learned to help others as many people learned to help themselves and each other during the rough times of that era. This became especially more noticeable during the war.

Mary moved to NY to expand her horizons, and there she met her husband, Howard Kahn. It was in NY they raised her son, Claude Barrett, and in 1959 her daughter, Meryl Jean Kahn, was born.

She later moved to NC to be near her family and her grandchildren. She had an impact on everyone she met. It was her constant selfless concern for others and little acts of kindness that all will remember. When you talked to her, her genuine sense concern for others was obvious. Throughout her life, she always helped others and their concerns before her own. She was very active in her church, and always put God before herself in everything she did.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Howard Kahn; and son, Claude Barrett; a brother, John Barrett and a sister, Francis Parisi.

She is survived by her her brother, James Barrett of New York, her daughter, Meryl Jean Paspa and husband Philip of Hickory, NC; two grandsons: Max and Alex Paspa, both of Hickory, NC; three granddaughters: Gabby Paspa of Hickory, NC, Nicole Barrett and Kim Listwan, both of New York; four great-grandchildren: Jessica Barrett, Melissa Listwan, Katherine Serpe and James Serpe and two great-great grandchildren: Ava Thomas and Mason Jensen, of New York.

She will be sorely missed by her family and all who knew her, who in this time of grief, nevertheless recall and celebrate with joy an extraordinary life of service to others and an attitude of selflessness which was borne of hard times and was present throughout her long and good life – in good times and bad. She was always helpful to and concerned for others above herself.

We will celebrate her life with happiness on Saturday, January 24, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. at Corinth Reformed Church with Pastor Bob Thompson officiating.
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Dear Kahn family, I send you all my condolences today. Although I did not know Mary, I can tell from your warm words that she was a wonderfully caring and giving person. Just as you will never forget your memories of her, neither will God. Death definitely is one of the hardest things to cope with, but it's comforting to know what God promises us in the future. Revelation 21:4 talks about a time when death will be wiped out forever.. as it reads "And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more. Neither will mourning, nor outcry, nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away". Also, John 5:28,29 reads "The hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear [Jesus'] voice and come out". You have God's word that those who have already fallen asleep in death will be restored. I wish your family the best as you continue to cope and I know that Mary will be delighted to see her loving family again soon!

sarah smith


To the family and friends of Mary. I am sorry for your loss. I just wanted to share some encouraging words with you during this time of grief. I would like to share a scripture with you that brought me comfort when I lost my father. It's found at 1John -5:28,29 where it says that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous also the scripture at Psalms chapter 37 verse 10 and 11 tells us that the righteous and the meek will inherit the earth and they will possess it forever how encouraging that is for us to know that we will be able to see our dead loved ones again in the very near future. If you would like further information please visit where you can find additional Bible-based material and also fill out an online request for a free home Bible study.

Jade Chisholm


Mrs. Kahn, I had always hoped to be able to get to NC to see you again, but it was not to be. I want to thank you for the Christmas parties you had for many years. I didn't realize it at my young age, but I now know how much work and love you put into them. I have to admit that when we first sang Happy Birthday to Jesus, I didn't know what to make of it but whenever I see this same custom, I think of you! Those Christmas parties gave me a sense of family and belonging at a time in my life that I needed it. You will always be an angel to me for that. I used to love to hear you give life lessons. They were always wise and spot on. I see this same sageness in Meryl, who reminds me so much of you. We will watch over her on earth as I am sure you will watch over her in Heaven. Till we meet again! xxoo Alison (Williams-Ahrens)

Alison Ahrens


I send you my forever love and will feel your love forever.

Karen (Cichocki) Blumenthal shared a video.


For Mary, with all my love. I have many happy memories of you, Howard, Frank and I singing together and making the old choir loft at Community United Methodist Church come alive with music and joy. I know in my heart and soul that one day we will all sing together again, until then may your voice be one with the angels. Mary Cichocki

Karen (Cichocki) Blumenthal dedicated a song.


I am a self-directed person. There are very few people whose approval and acceptance I want. People of whom, when I'm in the middle of some quest, I think of when I ask, "Is this worthy of my life's energies? If I do this, will I be able to hold my head up high under their scrutiny? Would this make them proud of me?" If I can't answer "Yes" to those 3 questions, I know the dream isn't big enough, the integrity isn't strong enough, the love isn't pure enough. Mrs. Kahn is one of those people. Her passing has not changed anything...I now and forever want her to be proud of me. And the true testament to how wonderfully she lived is that I am not the only one who feels this way about her. To Mary Kahn. You beauty! You goddess! You inspiration! (Sing us out, Mary...)

Wesley Doherty


Dear Mama Kahn, Sue and I felt so special that we could call you that (Mama and Papa Kahn), like you were, even if just a little bit, ours. Mom and Dad never minded either. I think they liked the idea too, that we were all sort of family by choice. I have so many memories of those magical years, its hard to even know where to start. One of my earlier memories was at Forley Street. I think that house is what inspired me to first fall in love with old things. That love has stayed with me to this day. I remember the porch, the yard, the big open living room / dining room area and the kitchen, even the narrow hallway and bedrooms upstairs. And one of the most vivid things I remember was you, singing. You sang, and you hummed, all the time. I don’t really remember you doing that everywhere, but when I think of that house, I do. Sue and I used to sleep over with Jean and we’d scare ourselves half to death watching TV late at night. You’d always say to us, don’t get spooked girls, and you went to bed knowing full well that that’s exactly what we would do. One of my most prized possessions are the antique ceramic crocks you gave me, and I think they date back to that house. I certainly remember them on the stairs at the Jackson Heights house. One of my favorite memories was a night I spent (I think it was just me and not Sue and I for some reason) with you for dinner at the Jackson Heights house. Chicken Parmesan and martinis. Pop made the martinis and I only had a little but Meryl drank all of hers. I’m sure they were “modified” but I felt grown up. I remember helping with the dishes and Meryl and Pop dancing around the kitchen. I remember how hard you worked at your job. You’d come home with sore feet and melt into the couch. Pop would bring you a cocktail or ice tea. Why I would have been there at that time to see you come home, who knows. I was there a lot like a silent observer, feeling so lucky to be part of it. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve told about having a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas Eve. It may indeed be a southern tradition but for me it is still a just “you" sort of thing and one I think of every year, without exception, and smile. I often say a little silent happy birthday Jesus to myself, a kind of homage to those days. I remember you took my hand at one time, when I was getting married. I don’t remember where or when it was, if it was at the wedding or before or after it, but your advice was so you and fitting to this day. “Be patient with him, Christine," you said, “they need a lot from us to teach them how to be.” Not somber advice, but joyful, with a little shake of the head and happy lilt in your voice, that told me you knew of what you spoke. I’ve missed you these years. I wish I could have had more of you in my life. Especially when my kids were young. They would have been so lucky to know you. But you gave me Meryl, and thanks to her (certainly not me). I think I will have her forever. I’ll take good care of her, you know. i promise. With all my heart, Chris (Klein) Quinn

Chris Quinn


My dear Aunt Mary, I will always remember spending Easter mornings with you :) Waking up extra early to go to Sunrise Mass in your church's courtyard was always a special treat for me. I loved having sleep overs with Nicole and testing out all of Jeannie's make up when you lived in Jackson Heights, Queens. I also will never forget singing Christmas carols with your church members and going back to your place for hot chocolate afterwards. You were such a big part of my childhood...really the only person from my dad's family that I ever had a relationship with and I will treasure those memories always. Love, Chrissy

Christine Rosner


Dear Mrs. Kahn, I will always cherish the memories of Christmas Eve dinner at your house. It was such fun and delicious food! You always made me feel right at home. I thank you for introducing me to strawberry shortcake. Yours was the best! Every time I tried other strawberry short cakes, I would compare it to yours. At Sunday school I learned from you on how to be a Christian. One should be loving, kind, and giving towards others. I am grateful to have known you. Your spirit will live on thru those you inspired! God Bless. Pamela Yee

Pamela Yee


To dear Mary Kahn, You were truly a great and unique spirit. Your face is clear in my mind as is your laugh, and both will be remembered fondly. I am grateful to have spent so much time with you at your home in Jackson Heights – at kitchen table dinners, drinking iced tea in your living room on warm days, and many drop-in visits as I walked by. Your maternal tenderness and uplifting energy will be around all who have loved and respected you for the rest of time. Peace to you on your next journey. To my dear Meryl, Thinking of you and sending you much love during this sad time! I hope you can take comfort in knowing that your Mom was embraced by your boundless love and compassion! Sending you my deepest and heartfelt sympathies. Do not stand at my grave and weep I am not there; I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow, I am the diamond glints on snow, I am the sun on ripened grain, I am the gentle autumn rain. When you awaken in the morning's hush, I am the swift uplifting rush Of quiet birds in circled flight. I am the soft stars that shine at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there; I did not die. mary elizabeth frye - 1932 Lots of Love, Donna Brodowski

Donna Brodowski