Kenneth Peter Kaye died at his home in Evanston on Wednesday, May 26. He was 75.
Ken Kaye earned his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from Harvard University (A.B. in English literature, 1966; Ph.D. in psychology and education, 1970). He was a Knox Fellow at the University of Cambridge, England. Later he trained in family therapy at the Family Institute of Chicago.
After a 10-year career as an academic researcher in the fields of developmental psychology and education, Mr. Kaye became a family therapist and an adjunct faculty member at Northwestern University’s Institute of Psychiatry. He has served on numerous editorial boards and advisory boards.
Mr. Kaye became a leader in the field of family business dynamics, having established his consulting specialty in 1986. He received the Family Firm Institute’s Contribution to the Field award, and founded the annual conference of leading psychologists who specialize in family business problems.
He retired from his consulting practice in 2017, although continued to share his expertise in more informal ways far and wide.
He published many books, most notably “The Mental and Social Life of Babies” (1982), “Family Rules” (1984), and “Workplace Wars and How to End Them” (1994). He also published numerous articles, as well as novels, short stories, essays, poems, and plays.
At age 50 he became a pilot, and for many years enjoyed flying fixed-wing airplanes for business trips, recreation, and volunteer medical transfers.
Ken was a permanent member of Field Museum Founders’ Council, and was one of the anonymous donors who established the Parker-Gentry Award for Conservation Science. In his retirement he became an assistant English as a Second Language teacher at Howard Area Community Center, was a former advisor at North Lawndale Employment Network, and a volunteer fundraiser for Evanston Public Library. He developed online ESL programs for adult learners and enjoyed swimming, reading, writing, crossword puzzles, biking, hiking, traveling, learning Spanish and Italian, reading books to his grandchildren, helping teenagers write college essays, and the company of his wife.
He is survived by his wife, Janice Kaye, and his four children: Lev Kaye and his wife, Jennifer Singer; Michelle Kaye and her husband Jeff Smith; Nick Kaye, and Hope Kaye. Ken leaves behind five grandchildren, Hazel and Fritz Smith, and Milo, Emmet, and Maggie Kaye.
His family will hold a memorial later in this summer, details forthcoming. In lieu of flowers, consider making a donation in Ken’s memory to the Howard Area Community Center, Evanston Public Library, or the Field Museum.