Siggy Kendall was born September 13, 1917. It was the end of World War I; it was the beginning of the Spanish Flu Pandemic; it was a time when the Russian Revolution shook the world. She married Paul Murray Kendall, English Professor, historian and biographer in 1939 on the eve of WWII. Siggy came to observe with the acumen of a writer the major events and developments of the twentieth century.
When Siggy was a child, the iceman made deliveries to the house. As an adult, she wrote a book on a new device: the home computer. Her life spanned technologies, different ways of living, new visions of what the world was and what it could be.
Siggy’s first books were for adults – The Black Seven (1946) and The Baby Snatcher (1952) – but she realized, after casting a twelve-year-old boy as her detective, that she wanted to write for children. In 1957, she wrote The Other Side of the Tunnel, and in 1960, The Big Splash. Between these, she wrote The Gammage Cup (1959), a Newbery Honor Book and an Ohioana prize winner (published in England as The Minnipins). Twenty- eight years later, this book became a Hanna-Barbera animated film for television and is still in print. The famous editor Margaret McElderry worked with Siggy and offered suggestions that helped lead to the final draft of The Gammage Cup. The sequel, The Whisper of Glocken, was published in 1965. Siggy’s final fantasy, The Firelings, was published in 1981 and won a Parents’ Choice Award and the 1983 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award. Her manuscripts and archives are housed in the Special Collections of the James C. Kirkpatrick Library at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg.
After travels to far-flung places (Easter Island was a favorite) and many visits to China, Siggy became interested in folk tales and proceeded to publish Haunting Tales from Japan (1985) and The Wedding of the Rat Family (1988). She translated and retold, with co-author Yao-wen Li, two collections of folk tales: Sweet and Sour: Tales of China and Cinnamon Moon. A number of these tales appeared in Cricket magazine. Despite her deep love of travel, Siggy always liked to return to her beloved house on Holiday Drive and to Kansas, “with its big blue skies, its fresh air, and its friendliness.”
Siggy is survived by her two loving daughters, Caroline Kendall Orszak and Gillian Murray Kendall, their husbands Thomas Orszak and Robert Dorit, and by three grandchildren, Christopher Kendall Ahearn (and his wife Elly Truitt); Sasha Dorit- Kendall and Gabriel Dorit- Kendall. Paul Murray Kendall, her husband, predeceased her in November of 1973. Thank you to Grace Hospice and the staff and nurses at Pioneer Ridge. No flowers please.
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