Tribute To Andrew Kates
(The following is the eulogy given by Paul Kates, Andy Kates' brother and Alton alum)
The entire Alton family was saddened to learn of the senseless death of Andy Kates in the World Trade Center attack.
Below are the tributes to Andy by his cousin, an Alton alum, Kenny Deckler, and brothers Paul and Seth, You can also view a fitting tribute to Andy on Fortune.com by clicking here .
My father Lew used to like to say "It's as simple and sweet as that". It usually meant that arguing was fruitless because what he said was final. He used to make these pronouncements when Andy, Seth, and I were wrestling in the backseat of his Cadillac convertible on the way out to family dinners. Actually, Andy and Seth were usually beating me up. In a huff my dad would warn us a few times that he was turning around if we didn't stop, which only egged my brothers on to find ways to blame me, the youngest one. Finally, Lew would pull over to the side of the road yelling that we were going home. And when we tried to change his mind he would say "it's as simple and sweet as that". Seth, Judy, and I would get quiet but Andy would challenge my father to get him to justify his anger. That was Andy. When everyone else gave up, he would take that as the bottom line for negotiation. Not only would he succeed in getting us to dinner but dessert at Carvel as well. Like me Lew had a sweet tooth so on that he was an easy sell. While stories don't do justice to the person, a few incidents about Andy shed light on the brother who was my role model and friend. The five chronological years between us meant that he was close enough to be an ordinary brother, but the vast difference in maturity meant that he could also be my protector, guide, coach, and bright example on life's path. He protected me at camp when my parents chose to send me for the entire summer at age 5. He taught me to drive a stick shift and paid the bills for the poor tree that met its end in the process. He set me on the path to business school. He even ghostwrote a few essays when he could have been spending time with baby Hannah instead. I knew that I should do it myself but who better than a brother to catalogue the strengths and weaknesses the applications required.
Recently the gulf between us narrowed as I began to enjoy a parallel life as a working person in New York. I began running in 1994 and that gave me time to be with Andy who was an accomplished runner. I always wanted to run a race with Andy - not to win but just as a shared experience. After my father passed away in January 1998, I committed to becoming a better runner and trying longer distances. I had never competed but that July Andy invited me to run with him in the Manhattan Half Marathon in Central Park. 2 laps around the park - 13 miles total. I didn't think I could do it but Andy encouraged me to keep my eye on the person next to me. Toward the end I was ready to hit the wall when Andy came rushing over. After finishing his race in one and a half hours he helped me reached the end of mine.
Andy was always rushing to my side. One of the earliest rescues I remember was at age 5 when he rushed over to save me from a swarm of bees. He probably sustained 50 bee stings to my one or two. But recently we've enjoyed a relationship as equals. We kept in active touch through e-mails and his final correspondence with me sums him up as a father, husband, and brother. It gives a window into his life in New York where he found time for family, friends, business, and good times. I read this on Thursday at the burial so indulge me if you've heard it already. Andy was always the eloquent spokesperson on family occasions. And I wanted to give him the chance to speak to us one last time.
Sorry about the weekend. Sat around and then went for a run later Saturday afternoon when I should have been in the Park with you. Sunday did brunch at the Vinegar Factory with some of Ilene's friends and then
had many beers while watching football all afternoon. I will make it up somehow.
Sent: Friday, September 07, 2001 1:30 PM
To: Kates, Paul A (Paul)
Subject: RE: ESPD
God only knows where all of the meltdown will end. Nice market today, huh?
Once we were rich...
I hope they're paying you well to baby-sit. I am around. Running probably
Sat am & biking Sunday am. Will be picnicking with friends from out of town
Sat afternoon in Sheeps Meadow probably, Sunday I know there's a birthday
party at some point but open. Tennis must factor in both days! Call me on
my cell if I'm not at home. Let me know what you're up for.
I'm taking a securities exam Monday (fun) so I have to study at some point
Espd is 25% higher than Lu - it's not even close...
From: Kates, Paul A (Paul)
Sent: Friday, September 07, 2001 11:56 AM
To: Kates, Andrew
Subject: RE: ESPD
Our bet still stands through the rest of the year. You are currently at
$7.85/share and we are at $6.15/share. It's amazing how things have
What are your weekend plans? I have to babysit Ilene's father's dog so I
will be spending the weekend at her apartment and at her father's apartment.
Maybe we could hang out for a few minutes this weekend if you guys are
> Sent: Thursday, September 06, 2001 8:18 AM
> To: Kates, Paul A (Paul)
> Subject: RE: ESPD
> could not click through to the article for some reason - can you fax
So back to my original statement - "it's as simple and sweet as that". On Tuesday, September 11, 2001 at 9:11 am when I fully comprehended what had happened from the view my building afforded of the World Trade Center tower 1, I had another conversation with my father. Yes, I admit that I sometimes have conversations with my father. Do you know what he said to me when I asked why Andy had to be with him so soon? "It's as simple and sweet as that". And I didn't have Andy around any more to help change the outcome.
I loved my brother a lot. He was a protector, guide, advisor, role model and friend. Emily, I will be there for you and the kids - just like Andy was always there for me. I know that he would do as much as that for just about anyone he knew.
Eulogy for Andy Kates
(The following is the eulogy given by Seth Kates, Andy Kates' brother and Alton alum)
When I was born I suspect that I was happy. There were my parents, who were always smiling when they saw me, and to the best of my knowledge I was good. 2 ½ years later it slowly became apparent that my assumption was incorrect. Andy was born. My parents still smiled at me, but if I was good what was Andy? It wasn't that I was bad, although I had my problems, but Andy was so good. Every baby picture of him is smiling and he was always in a happy mood.
As soon as we went to school, teachers that had taught me were alarmed at the prospect of getting another Kates in their classroom. They quickly realized that two different models could come from the same mold. Every single report card raved about Andy. This summer we received a letter from a camp counselor saying what a pleasure it was to be my daughter's counselor. Reading it with my wife I laughed. She asked why and I told her that it reminded me of the letters my parents always received about Andy.
It often wasn't easy to love such a brother. Probably it hurt to be cast as the difficult one, to know that I was the troublemaker and he was the do-gooder. But beneath the differences we shared more in common than we realized - chiefly a competitive spirit. We loved to fight. It filled the mornings and evenings of school days and during the weekends continued throughout the day. If you ask our mother she will admit to once offering us knives to finish each other off . Although I was older and bigger, Andy was better at the psychological art of fighting and could goad me into fights at will. The infliction of pain was a goal of our fights but it was not the most important part. Justice meant a lot, but getting our parents to blame the other one was the ultimate victory. The problem was it was just easier to believe that I was the instigator and he was the innocent victim. Only once did he make the rare error of yelling to my parents that I was hitting him when I was actually sitting at the table with them.
Throughout his life there were few missteps, although he is the only Kates brother with a criminal record. His early business career ended abruptly when he was caught selling fireworks during junior high. He mail ordered them from North Carolina and sold them at a substantial profit. After that he stuck to getting great grades, landing unusual internships, and garnering loads of awards.
Andy gave tremendous consideration to everything he felt was important. And every major decision was studied and protracted. He did not do many things quickly. He probably committed the entire College guidebook to memory before he finally chose Wesleyan. As expected he did great, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and graduated on a sunny, beautiful day
After college Andy went to work at Bain. He loved it and stayed until a group of Bain people started Bright Horizons, which he helped to establish in its early years. After working for a while Andy struggled over whether to go to graduate school and if it should be business or law school. My father had a great old partners desk in his law office and promised it to whichever son chose to become a lawyer. It was a tough decision but Andy ultimately chose business school and predictably ended up at Harvard. Yet, when my father died it turned out that he had an intuitive understanding of law. He would have been so proud to see Andy in his office sorting through legal files and taking care of cases and unresolved litigation. We were all proud of the way he helped my mother and grateful for the way his help meant holding on to more of what my father had earned than would have been possible without his tireless work.
Andy impressed lots of people. He was extroverted, handsome, a good athlete, bright as hell and in love with life. He loved making friends, and at every stage of his life he made great friends that he worked hard at keeping in touch with. One of my closest friends who is the Cantor Fitzgerald CEO, met Andy many times and was so impressed that he offered him his last job. There are people here today from grade school and high school, Wesleyan, Bain, Bright Horizons, Harvard Business School, Cantor Fitzgerald, and from all the communities were he lived. How did he stay so close to so many people while staying so busy with the rest of his life?
Although he had many close friends and so many were great friends to him, he had only one best friend. Andy met Emily 16 years ago and they have been inseparable since. My mother described their marriage as beautiful and it was. They were truly soul mates and meshed and complemented each other perfectly. They have three beautiful children, Hannah, Lucy, and Henry. Henry is almost one year old and is already smiling constantly and always cheerful just the way Andy was. Andy delighted in his children and was devoted to them beyond description.
He approached the challenge of fatherhood with the same zest he brought to every important job. Andy wanted to be the absolute best father he could be. From the time Hannah was born, he read to her with such zeal that not only did it make me crazy but I feared for her early loss of hearing. Perhaps it's not surprising that she began reading and writing well before my son, her older cousin. When Hannah was born he told my wife that he wanted to change her so often that she would never feel a wet diaper.
He made every second count with his children. On tough nights he let Emily sleep and he got up at 5 with energy to play, read, or instruct. And he took such care with everything he did with his children. What other father thought to cut a raisin into quarters? And while feeding Baby Hannah he would be busy rubbing her hand on different fabrics so that she would learn about textures. Was he a perfect father? Probably not always but he was close to perfect. This summer he finally bought a minivan for his growing family after endless consideration and frequent consultation with Consumer Reports. One weekend on vacation he was washing it with Lucy when she said "Dad, come see my picture." He came around to the driver's door where she had etched a picture into it with a stone. Lucy asked her mom why Daddy was slapping his knee. But Andy kept his cool, bit his lip, and started buffing.
We all benefited from Andy's intelligence, good nature, and devotion to family. He invested tremendous time and thought in helping and advising our bother Paul into choosing a business school and then a job. He helped to bring our family together by arranging summer days at Hillary's house, Thanksgiving and Holiday dinners in Manhattan, staying in touch with the Dicklers, Toppers, and Myers. And I have no doubt that he did the same with Emily's family. Last year on Rosh Hashanah we were all gathered for a festive meal in his apartment while Emily was at the hospital having Henry. We all stayed at the apartment and continued to celebrate the holiday until the three of them came home. It was a special moment that we shared as an extended family.
My wife always said that Andy was fun. He loved having fun and especially making it fun for other people. When he went away with friends he was always the one yelling for everyone to get up and do something. He loved sports and competing. He ran marathons. He skied and swam. He loved food. But was careful with everything he ate. He would order a corned beef sandwich and meticulously cut away every bit of fat. He flossed his teeth frequently and with care and then complained that Emily always had better dental checkups. He played a mean hand of poker. He loved work and getting stuff done. He loved getting a bargain and making sure no one got the better of him. He loved making toasts and his toasts are prized family heirlooms.
Why didn't Andy ever rest? Do you know how hard it was to keep up with him over the last 37 years? Only a brother can say this, but the things that made me the most crazy about Andy were the things that every one loved the most about him. His sense of humor, the methodical and persistent and slow way he did things, his smirking smile, his boundless energy, the toasts, and the way he made everything look so easy but worked so hard to do it.
As I have gotten older I have realized that life is not only defined by how you live day to day, but also by the highs and lows that mark life. These are not constant but rather always changing based on life's circumstances. When I was young, a high was getting a new hot wheels set - a low was breaking it four days later. But over time the ups and downs have become the significant events like becoming a Bar mitzvah, having a grandfather that I loved die, graduating college, getting married, seeing serious illnesses in people that you can't make better, burying your head in that perfect spot on the neck in your new born and not knowing how you are ever going to stop kissing it, watching your father get sick and die...Nothing, and I mean nothing prepared me for the feeling that I had when I realized that my brother had been killed. The cracks in the foundation of our immediate and extended families, the impact on Emily and Andy's friends and community, my community, my brother Paul's community, my parent's community, my Aunt Honey and Uncle Dick who loved him as their own, my grandma Bea. The incredible waste and loss. The loss. I just can't believe that Andy isn't here giving his own toast instead of me struggling through his eulogy.
I want to be the good son and good father that Andy has always been - wise, devoted, loving and fun. To be a reassuring presence for Emily and the kids, for my mother and grandmother, for extended family and friends, who loved Andy and who will miss him perhaps as much as me.
In writing this I kept trying to think of what Andy might have said. I am really not angry just hurt and lonely. I am scared for us and also for Emily and the children. I have to believe and also know that Andy's spirit will carry on in his children and they will be better for the guidance and love that he has given in his short time with them. I love Andy so much and miss him so badly...
(The following is the eulogy given by Kenny Deckler, Andy Kates' cousin and Alton alum)
Since most of you knew Andy as an adult, I would like to share with you some of the wonderful memories I have of Andy as a child. Andy was as patient; caring, generous and outstanding an adult as he was a child.
For those of you who don't know me, I am Andy's cousin, Kenny. I was born just 8 weeks after Andy. For every milestone I had to achieve, it always seemed Andy had already reached it. But Andy was so caring, that he was always the first person to help me through it. As a 5-year-old, the most important goal in my life was, of course to get the damn training wheels off my bicycle. During a weekend in Wyncote, Andy showed me that he could ride on two-wheels. I was certainly jealous. After Andy rubbed my face in the fact that he could already ride, he spent hours w/ me in his garage teaching me how to ride too.
And guess who was patient enough to teach me how to drive a stick shift Andy. My parents weren't thrilled about him teaching me to drive in my mother's new car. But after a long afternoon of jerking, lurching, starting, stopping, stalling, restarting and whiplash I learned how to drive the stick - thanks to Andy's everlasting patience. Its funny that just last month I needed to borrow my brother-in-laws company Ford F-350 pick-up truck to haul some of the construction debris from my new home. And when one of the employees tossed me the keys, he said I hope you know how to drive a stick. (He thought I was a wus from NY who only knew how to drive 6 Cylinder automatics). I said yes I do Andy taught me. He said whose Andy - I said he was the closet thing I had to a brother.
Andy & I spent our summers together at Camp Alton. Every morning @ camp, we had to bathe in freezing Lake Winnipesaukee using the buddy system. Andy was always my buddy. I don't know if Camp Alton had a more prize camper than Andy. He could run the Aiken, Hike Mount Washington, water ski-slalom of course and even more amazing "eat the food." better than anyone. But most of all after the flag rush (the final color war event) there was an awards ceremony w/ the MVP's of each age group being awarded one of the flags. Andy was the MVP each and every year he was a camper @ Alton. . I don't think that in the 70+-year history of Alton, did one camper win the award so many times.
And just five short weeks ago Andy, my brother-in-law Robyn and I set out to swim around Jack Island in Stamford bay behind my sister and brother-in-laws home. This 2-mile swim takes about an hour and is exhausting. Of course Andy finished well before I did. When I finally did finish, I was completely exhausted, and there was Andy busy chasing his little girls around the backyard while holding little Henry. His stamina was amazing. Andy - just to let you know that yesterday Robin and I swam the island knowing that you were w/ us every stroke of the way.
And as I sure all of you know Andy was always more thoughtful than anyone. I know because I was the recipient of so many birthday cards or letters from far away places. They always had just the right message and there wasn't a birthday that would pass w/o a gift arriving from Andy and his family. He would always remember someone else's special day.
Through every important step in my life - Andy was always there. I am going to miss you so much. I love you.