In Memoriam - Kenneth Casey
I-NOMA is mourning the loss of a mentor, friend, brother, pioneer. Kenneth Edwin Casey’s impact on the lives of so many I-NOMA family members will never be forgotten. Below are several stories and pictures submitted by those who knew him best. Some of the posts are borrowed from Ken Casey’s memorial page. We love you Ken and you will always be missed.
"I met Ken C. in 1999 when I came on board as an INOMA member for the first time. My immediate impression of Ken C. was that he was one of the most selfless people I have ever met. Always giving more of himself, whether it was professional advice, mentoring students, or just being there for you, no matter the circumstance. When Ken C. would need assistance on a project in which he was spearheading, there was no hesitation on my part to lend a hand when he asked me. Who could say "No" to Ken Casey! A true I-NOMA giant indeed. An architect's architect! When one thinks of the NOMA chapter in Chicago, the first names that would come to mind would be Ken Casey, Bryan Hudson, Erroll and Ameera O'Neil, Billy McGhee, the Smiths and some of the other "old school" architects. To say he would be sorely missed would be a major understatement. Godspeed to you, my brother!"
- Ken Neal
"Ken was a portrait of whom a caring, loving, understanding and great husband should be. He possessed all those traits & many more that I observed in his interactions with my daughter Nadene over the years of their union in marriage. I am ever so proud of Nadene for the many roles she played so very well during Ken's many months of illness, from being his nurse, advocate, wife & everything else until the end of his life. Keep strong Nadene. Gone too soon, Ken, just was not ready to say goodbye to my beloved son in law who is now in heaven. I am assured that the clouds of grief will lessen with time. Rest In Peace Ken, we love you & will never forget you, but God loves you more."
- Joan M. Chambers
"I met Ken in the year 2000 in New Orleans at my first NOMA convention. From the beginning, he was a role model, a mentor and friend, always sharing insight, providing guidance and collaborating with many of us. We have lost a great member of this family, but heaven has gained a great soul. Rest in Glory Ken!"
- Jose Estrada
"I've known Ken since 1989 via INOMA. He inserted himself in my life providing unsolicited brotherly advice and profound friend wisdom to me, as a young single mother. He talked me into working for Bob Andrews and possibly the CDB. His laid back way of living and dispensing life advice while asking for nothing in return was classy. When Erroll and I set our wedding date, he insisted on driving Shahiedah and me to the temple. We were nearly late because we got lost and was stopped by the police for speeding trying to make it on time. We had a banter that was exhausting over seemingly the weirdest things, except Star Trek. I still "Thank you, for taking him off the market". He needed to come home to you. He could follow his dreams because of you and wanted to share that with others. Your love, logic, order and advocacy for Ken is etched in my memory. I love you for caring for my "briend" (brother-friend). I will miss him so very much, will remember him forever and thank you from the bottom of my heart. Here's to love and memories- forever."
- Ameera Ashraf-O’Neil
"We first met in 1987 at an I-NOMA meeting. I also met Kerl LeJuene, Brian Ellison, Eletrice Harris, and a few other long standing I-NOMA members back then. Somehow we bonded and became like brothers. We experienced many trips, NOMA Conferences, business ventures, social events, Auto Shows, barbecues, parties, and even our own wedding days together! It’s crazy that you are no longer here, but I witnessed you bravely handle your illness and do what you loved to do until the end! I’ve been in a fog ever since last Saturday, knowing that you are no longer around, however I know you are no longer in pain and at peace! May God bless your soul my good friend! You were the best of us! We are all better for knowing you!"
- Erroll O’Neil
“Ken was an ever-present at events where it mattered. AIA National business meetings come to mind. Not usually one for the spotlight, but always knowledgeable on the issues and a reliable confidant with sage advice. I'll remember Ken as a great listener, advocate, and the finest supporter of his colleagues, putting others before self.”
- Peter Exley
“Ken, a kind outgoing personable soul who used his skills for connecting people to grow and stabilize minorities in this industry. He so effortlessly used these powers that it is easy to take them granted. I met Ken 25 years ago, after I quit my last job and was struggling with defining my next move. He took pity upon me and introduced me to his boss, who hired me to help him complete an assignment for CPS. At the time, I was an unemployed single parent of a 1 year old in dire need of a shot of confidence. That single act of kindness set me on a path to entrepreneurship that open doors for many others. He will be sorely missed. Love you.”
- RoMana Westbrook
"Don't ask for permission Ask for forgiveness!"
“This picture proudly and sadly celebrates my journey with Ken. 24 years prior I was a student at UIC and had just founded the 1st NOMAS chapter there. The conference was in Chicago that year. I knew nothing about NOMA national at the time. Ken asked me if I would be interested in volunteering for the conference? "I said what do you need?" His reply was "Do you have a suit?" I had only one go to black suit and replied yes. "I need you to do whatever NOMA needs you do; more or less be a gopher for NOMA this week." 24 years later almost to the day; we posed as President and proud mentor! It's all Ken's fault that I fell in love with and served this organization for all these years. Maybe Ken saw something in me all those years ago? Who knows? I thanked him that night and I thank him now! Love you brother and I miss your sarcastic humor and mentoring. 3 daps to the heavens!”
- Bryan Wendell Hudson
“Standing in the shower, thinking...."
“That line is from a song by Jane's Addiction. I remember Ken and I often air guitar-ing and very badly singing this song together while attending UIC. In the 30 years I have known him, Ken was always a friend, a mentor, a confidant, and a brother. We attended UIC together, worked on staff together for UIC's housing department as Community Advisors (grown-up RA's), interned together for Amoco Corp, were pioneer neighbors in West Garfield Park, attended too many epic concerts together to count. We often shared discussions on books, movies, music, and philosophies. He was one of three participants in my first wedding, and a fantastic time was shared with he and Nadene in Jamaica soon after they were married. He was a man that had a laugh that vibrated a room, but spoke with a calmness that commanded respect. A great debater, always arguing "the other point". Wise, noble, honest. I miss him, and my memories of him will remain until the end of my days.”
- Brian Keith Ellison
“My earliest memories of Ken Casey occurred when I was still a child, peeking over the shoulders of my father as he would draft the hand sketches he developed onto AUTOCAD in our basement. I remember Ken would come by, he would say hi to all of my sisters and I , and would give my dad work. Ken Casey was one of the first two architects I had ever seen. Black men were the first examples of architects for me. I will always remember those experiences as the foundation of our relationship. Ken would say along with Ty Stovall (the other black male architect I knew from my youth) "there is an easier way to make a buck" and would laugh. Ken Casey and Ty were always there to offer their 'realness' advice for me and Ken Casey has always been one for the people, and one for NOMA. He required respect, but praise did not seem high on his list. As I sit in indulge the memories of Ken Casey, I am reminded of the impact one makes when the mindset to lift others when we are being blessed. I am sure Ken was not thinking how his working with my father would in turn make a positive impact on his children, but it surely played a part. Rest easy Ken. You are missed, but your legacy continues.”
- Kim Johnson
“Ken LOVED & ADORED Nadene, first of all. Ken was so proud of her achievements and I can see his smile at her....Then he loved architecture. NOMA,INOMA. He motivated others in all their endeavors, no matter what they were trying to achieve. He always asked who I was interviewing , what I was doing with Diversity In Architecture. Now more than ever I will continue to Document Our His/Herstory in honour of Ken Casey. Blessings to Nadene, Kens' family, & his Friendship Family. Large footsteps for all to emulate.”
- Susan Carlotta Ellis
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