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Roberta Vivian Kahn, a native New Yorker, was born April 16, 1945, to Doctor Bernard I. Kahn and Mrs. May H. Kahn, the first of three daughters. Gifted with a beautiful voice and a flair for words, from a young age she nurtured both with singing lessons, journal and jingle writing, and entertaining others at gatherings, parties and even in the car.
Roberta’s talents were swiftly recognized. At sleep-a-way camp in the Pocono Mountains, which she began attending at the age of five, she not only made lifelong friends, but wrote and sang the lyrics in many original camp shows and was featured on camp recordings. To all who ever heard her voice, like the quality of a Wood Thrush, it continues to resonate, even now, with her clear, pure, natural soprano.
She always wanted to be a writer and a career woman, and she fulfilled both aspirations. Graduating from Syracuse University with a major in Journalism and Communications, she immediately landed her dream job as a copy writer at A&S, Abraham and Straus, the fabled department store in downtown Brooklyn, at their flagship store on Fulton Street. She quickly advanced to Copy Editor, and even after she enlarged her network as a Copywriter and Marketing Program Manager, writing for ski and home furnishings magazines and trade journals, she remained affiliated with A&S as Chief Copy Editor for many years.
Later she was hired by Citibank as their Communications Director and Sales and Marketing Manager for Lower Manhattan Retail Bank with thirty-two branches, developing incentive programs, in-house motivational events, and writing training manuals for product campaigns. After a decade of corporate life, she started her own business, RK Creative, where over twenty years, her clients included Mastercard, Phillips, Lucent, and even her former employer, Citibank. She said writing came easily to her, and felt lucky to have earned her living as a writer for her entire adult life.
Roberta loved to travel, touring all over Europe and Scandinavia, sometimes solo, sometimes with friends, her joie de vivre and curiosity leading her to the most famous museums and sights, as well as those rare gems few discovered. Her love of skiing brought her to the slopes of Vermont, Colorado, and ultimately the Alps.
Above all, she relished all NYC had to offer, never missing a hit show, or a major art retrospective or exhibit. Her greatest passion was opera, and she maintained an annual subscription to the Metropolitan Opera House. She fell in love with the Ring Cycle, flying to Washington D.C., Seattle, and wherever a new and innovative production was being launched.
Roberta said her greatest blessings were her enduring friendships. Her most memorable times were dinner and theater with friends, the bi-annual weekends with the “camp girls,” and celebrating birthdays and special occasions. She often arrived with original lyrics to sing for the birthday girl or guest of honor.
Roberta also felt lucky to live in her beloved Brooklyn Heights all of her adult life. For fifty years she adored her cozy walk-up on Willow Street, just one block off the Promenade. She knew the neighborhood shop keepers at her favorite specialty stores, and they knew her. She walked the Brooklyn Bridge with an exercise buddy multiple times a week, and enjoyed contemplating the river and NYC skyline from her roof. Long after family and friends tired of the dreaded steps, she continued to feel privileged to live in such a lovely, coveted, and historic neighborhood, cherishing the peace and quiet it provided.
Roberta was an active member of her synagogue, and every year worked on the Brooklyn Israel Film Festival, writing copy for the program guide and selling ad space. A die-hard Democrat, she was politically involved, and stayed informed on all the major issues; and made sure you did, too!
When failing health forced her to finally leave her beloved Brooklyn, she made a new circle of friends at her assisted living facility in Connecticut. Residents and staff alike, found her charming and delightful.
Roberta died peacefully at the age of 77, surrounded by family and friends. Her voice, her spirit, her zest for life, continue to shine in the hearts of all who knew and loved her. She will be sorely missed.
She leaves behind her two sisters, Maxine Lerman of Manchester, Connecticut, and Judith Kahn of Charlottesville, Virginia, her nephew Elliot Lerman of Bloomfield, Connecticut, her niece Sharon Lerman of Seattle, Washington, and her two grand-nephews, Jonah and Max, of Seattle.
A Graveside Funeral at Mount Hope Cemetery in Hastings-on-Hudson will be held on Friday, October 21, at 1:00 pm.
Contributions in Roberta’s memory may be made to Beth Sholom-B’nai Israel of Manchester, CT, the Brooklyn Israel Film Festival, or a charity of the donor’s choice.
Shiva Dates and Times:
*Shiva will be observed at the home of Maxine and Manny Lerman, 25 Sass Drive, Manchester CT
Saturday, October 22, 2022 from 7:00-9:00pm
Sunday, October 23, 2022 from 6:00-8:30pm
Monday, October 24, 2022 from 3:00-5:00pm and 6:00-7:30pm.
**Condolences may be sent to Judith Kahn at:
PO Box 4544
Charlottesville, VA 22905
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