Our long-time helpers — Part 4 of  5:  Gone but not forgotten

In memoriam
Dave Smith
Our dear friend and helper passed away on May 20, 2002. He was Josiane's husband. Dave's strength, courage and cheer will always be an inspiration to us. He was a truly good man, a wonderful husband, father and friend, and is sorely missed.

Julie Stevens
was Kadon's data entry guru for over 10 years. A Kadon customer since 1986, and a computer programmer for even more years, Julie in 1992 formed her own "Mail Wizard" company to help small businesses with mailing list maintenance and business software. Julie provides this service even while holding a full-time job at DHHS.

The energetic and multi-talented Julie has made many kinds of crafts—for example, ceramic fantasy castles that serve as desk organizers. Among her hobbies are jigsaw puzzles, word puzzles, collecting Kadon games, Magic the Gathering, science fiction, camping, and singing. Especially exciting was her stage debut in 1999 with the Victoria Lyric Opera Company of Rockville (Maryland) in a production of Gilbert and Sullivan's "Princess Ida" as a member of the chorus. Since that time she is almost always in rehearsals for one or another of G&S's merry productions.

Julie was an army brat and has lived in Illinois, France, Indiana and Texas. She now resides in Rockville, MD, with her husband, Jim. During the annual Maryland Renaissance Festival, Julie and her lovely daughter, Cassandra, don their splendid costumes and occasionally have helped out in the Kadon booth.

If you are interested in attending any of Julie's musical performances, you can reach her by email.

has been a family friend for decades. He's the best guy to have around in any emergency, from floods in the basement to squirrels in the attic, and any construction project, from our patio to the final stages of the Renaissance pavilion. He's been our benefactor so many ways over the years that it can't even be counted. He's also the author of a 500-page book about his family's genealogy, Fabian Families of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, available on this website. We don't see much of him anymore since he got married in 2009 and lives permanently in Florida.
Photograph by Angelika Petrik

Ken Isbell was such a fan of our Renaissance Festival exhibit for years that he finally talked us into giving him his own game table to explain and entertain visitors with the Royal Game of the Goose and especially the Game of the Labyrinth, which he did with gusto for a number of years, adding much to the merriment at Ye Olde Gamery.

His work for the Smithsonian Institution in staging exhibits has included working with actual Star Trek memorabilia and other fascinating slices of history. Ken can wear a Renaissance outfit with dramatic flair like few others. He still visits occasionally, now bedecked with ever more beads, rings and tattoos, a colorful pirate figure. He reprised his rollicking Goose Master role during parts of the 2015 and 2017 season.
Photograph by Art Blumberg

Chuck Coates is a mechanic/technician, and his skills were just what was needed to set up our first laser and launch our own cutting operation in 1993, when our demand exceeded what our then-supplier was able to deliver. At first in Chuck's basement, then in a proper industrial building in Baltimore, Chuck kept the laser going until about 1999 and even convinced us of the wisdom of adding a second laser to expand production capacity. His design talents included many projects of his own, including props and costumes for science fiction conventions. The handsome Celtic borders on our Nine Men's Morris board were his addition, and the slick tiered bases for our Pyramid puzzles were his improvement on Kate's more simplistic design. When Chuck's life moved into other ventures, we were fortunate to have Chris Palmer to take over the laser shop.

Chris Palmer is foremost an artist in many disciplines, including world-class Origami, fabric folding, weavings, Moorish tilings, Flash programming, computer graphics and more. He brought those skills to programming Kadon's lasers, designing intricate tilings, and building both our Puzzle Parlor and the Coloring Book with self-taught Flash. Kadon still offers Chris's WhirlSpools, a large, dramatic tiling full of spiral intersections and energetic swirls. When Chris went on in 2003 to pursue careers in art and programming at the university level, which took him to Colorado and then to California, we were fortunate that Thomas Atkinson arrived to step in and help not just with the laser shop but with almost every creative and productive aspect of Kadon's operation.

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