Friday, December 29, 2017
This final issue of the year is dedicated to
KENNETH DAVID OFGANG
He was a METNEWS staff writer for 27 years. He was our friend, our colleague, our resident expert on just about everything. His coverage of judicial elections was stellar. Below are some comments on Ken that have been received.
From Los Angeles Superior Court judges…
I was very saddened to hear about the passing of Ken Ofgang. I most likely would not be a judge without him. Let me explain.
I knew nothing about running for judge in 2000. During a weekend hike my friend suggested that I apply, but the deadline was in two days. I showed up at the Registrar's Office and had no idea which of the six races I should enter. I saw a man with a reporter's pad lurking in the corner, and keenly watching who was entering the races. I approached him, and learned he was Ken Ofgang from the Met News. In speaking with him I realized he was a guru about judicial races. He could quote stats of every sort going back a decade as to each race.
I asked him for advice. "What race do you think I should enter?" He pointed at one, "This one. You will win." I followed his advice, and won in the primary. (This was the era before exotic ballot descriptions).
Our friendship continued over the past 18 years, and I have always credited him for my starting my judicial career. He was a warm, kind, and knowledgeable guy and I will miss him.
I want to send you my condolences on the passing of Kenneth Ofgang. I was wondering why I had not seen his byline lately and now I understand. I loved his articles on recent appellate decisions. They were easy and fun to read and, of course, erudite at the same time. He had a way of making complicated legal or procedural issues simple. He could untangle knots with his writing.
—Maria E. Stratton
Mr. Ofgang was a great student of the law, who had a wonderful intellectual curiosity. His intellect and his quick wit will be missed.
I write to say how sad Paul* and I are to have read that Kenneth succumbed to cancer.
He was a lovely man, unusually bright, and a terrific writer. His legal analyses were spot on. He always condensed lengthy opinions to their essences and made the complicated
We already miss his byline.
—Isabel Cohen (ret.)
*Paul F. Cohen is a probate practitioner.
I was terribly saddened to hear of Ken’s illness and passing. He was a jack of all trades and mastered most! I particularly loved reading his insightful, candid, well-crafted and accurate articles while writing for the Metropolitan News. Never had to worry about ‘fake news’ from Ken. Even more important than those attributes were his infections smile, his true love of life and his untiring dedication and loyalty to his friends. When people like Ken pass there is truly a piece of something that will be ever missing from our lives. Rest in peace, Ken. You really will be remembered for years to come.
—Lee Kanon Alpert
Ken’s conduct was motivated in equal parts by curiosity and generosity. He was always up for stuff, especially when he could share it with others. I already miss his enthusiastic voice singing in Synagogue or cheering at a sports bar, and I will miss it for a long time to come.
From political consultants…
There are too many words to succinctly remember Ken. He was a great guy who was exceptionally kind. His encyclopedic knowledge of sports and politics was astounding. And he was respected by all from judges to political consultants to employers to friends to rabbis. I will share a fond memory of Ken. In June 2008, Ken and I spent about a week on Nantucket Island. One night we ventured to a local bar for "Karaoke Night." Ironically, neither Ken nor I drank alcohol. I had never done Karaoke before (or since) so I told Ken I would only sing if he sang "Exodus" first. (There are actually words to the theme from the movie.) He agreed so he sang Exodus and I sang "When a Man Loves a Woman." Suffice it to say, Ken was much better than me. For those of you who knew Ken, remember he was never without his glass of ice tea---morning, noon and night. So next time you drink an ice tea think of Ken and next time you go to Europe imagine him trying to get a "real" ice tea there.
I never had to look anything up, because Ken was in the world. A phone call away. His capacious reservoir overflowed with hard facts and soft esoterica. Ken always knew. In this idiosyncratic corner of our democracy that Ken illuminated, he will never be fully replaced.
From former staff writers (attorneys)…
Ken was a role-model, a mentor and a friend. It was a joy to talk with him and to learn from him, and even to watch him keep score, pitch-by-pitch, at a Dodger game. He was modest about his vast knowledge and expertise, but certainly he had plenty of it—about details of law, politics, history, baseball, and especially judicial elections. He was one of a kind. He was an important part of my life, and I will miss him.
Ken was a consummate colleague, mentor and friend. His mind was a treasure trove of history, trivia, legal knowledge and sports scores. He always had a ready smile for everyone, and I can't remember a day spent beside him where I didn't hear his raucous cackle at least once. He could find humor in any situation. And he was always a wordsmith. His standard response to my nightly "see you later" was "good lord willing and the crick don't rise." Something as prosaic as "good night" would never be uttered by Ken. He also advised me to never include the quote "he will be missed" in an obituary, since people are expected to miss the dearly departed. He said it'd only be noteworthy if the decedent wouldn't be missed. I've heeded his advice all these years, but I can't think of any other way to say it—he will be missed.
Copyright 2017, Metropolitan News Company