A couple of weeks ago Gerhard Kallmann passed away. He was a most extraordinary man. You can read about his biography and influential work as an architect in the Boston Globe or the New York Times or one of several architecture sites. I had the privilege of getting to know him as he was Susan’s uncle (or, I guess, my uncle-in-law). When I was studying at MIT and living near Central Square, I would often hop on the T to Harvard to have dinner with him at his apartment just past the Cambridge Commons. For many years he also traveled with us to Italy in the summer.
It is hard for me to do his presence justice in words, although “magnificent” comes to mind. There was so much to admire about him. His prodigious memory — being able to recall even arcane dates and names easily. His incredible determination — such as walking around Rome on a hot day in pursuit of the Fontana delle Tartarughe (insisting on wearing a jacket). His love for and mastery of his craft — which saw him actively working on building designs into his 90s. But most of all the youthful glint in his eye - always interested in participating in or at least encouraging a bit of mischief.
We are returning to Italy later this summer. We will make sure to pay a special visit to some of his favorite sites in Rome — a great city to remember a great man.