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February 2021

KENT DENVER SCHOOL

PERSPECTIVE

Issue 1
February 2021

Remembering Kay Eppich Black '45

1945 Senior Portrait-Kay Eppich

Kay Eppich Black '45 passed away in July 2020 after nearly 80 years as a member of the Kent Denver community.

Kay began attending the Kent School for Girls as a sophomore in 1942. During her three years at Kent, she sang in the Glee Club and played field hockey for the Blue Team. Kay was celebrated in her senior yearbook for having the best smile and "a knack for interrupting, having definite plans, and worrying."

After attending Bennington College in Vermont, Kay married Andrews D. "Andy" Black in 1948. The couple moved back to Colorado where Andy founded the Denver Country Day School (DCD) and served as the head of school from its opening in 1953 until his retirement in 1972, shortly before DCD and the Kent School merged to become today's Kent Denver School.

Although Kay did not have a formal role in running the school, DCD alumnus Jamie Duke '68 remembers, "During the pre-Blackmer Farm days, when the school was located on South University at Dartmouth, Kay was often seen at DCD carrying on as a mother or wife would as she made sure her home and family were well taken care of. She would straighten pictures, re-arrange furniture, water plants, check on the activity in the kitchen and otherwise be sure the students' and faculty's needs were being properly met. Andy ran the school, but Kay made sure it was as close to a home as possible."

Kay also loved adventure and spent her adult life traveling the world. She was one of the first western women to hike to the base camp of Mount Everest, where she trekked with Andy during the first American ascent. On another adventure, Kay, Andy, and some Denver friends (including their children) loaded up two freight canoes at Great Slave Lake in Canada and headed north up the Mackenzie River to Tuktuyaaqtuuq, Arctic Circle, NWT. In the 1970s, Kay earned her pilot's license and raced airplanes in national and international women-only races known as the Powder Puff and Angel Derbies.

A trip to Korea in 1973 inspired Kay with a passion for Asian art and Korean art in particular, prompting Kay to earn her master's degree in Asian Art History at the University of Denver. After lifelong study, Kay published a book in 2020, Ch'aekkori Painting: A Korean Jigsaw Puzzle, celebrating a style of folk art she particularly loved.

For more details about Kay's extraordinary life, her obituary is available online.

 

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