Jeanne (Westphal) Kahn

BORN: October 3, 1948

DIED: November 21, 2021

Shorewood, Wisconsin

Jeanne (Westphal) Kahn, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, passed away peacefully at the age of 73 on November 21, 2021 with her family by her side.  Jeanne was born on October 3, 1948 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She graduated from St. Robert School in 1962 and Shorewood High School in 1966.  She studied harp as the first harp major at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. 

Jeanne married James Kahn in 1970, and they moved to Freeport, Illinois, where their daughter, Jennifer, was born. Jeanne made many treasured lifelong friends in Freeport. Although Jeanne and James divorced in 1977, Jeanne remained a loved “out-law” by the Kahn family.  Jeanne and Jennifer, moved back to Milwaukee and Jeanne began her career with Milwaukee Public Schools, which lasted for 25 years.  At MPS, she directed the largest harp program in the United States.  She also taught private lessons to many students, who became like family to her.  She directed two harp ensembles, and played the harp for many local events and productions including a stint of The Sound of Music at Melody Top Theater.  Jeanne received two awards from the Civic Music Association: Studio Lesson Teacher of the Year in 1996 and the Music Teacher of the Year in 1998.  She collaborated and even toured Europe with local choral groups.  Jeanne loved camping and the mountains.  She had a passion for travel, and visited over 300 national parks and monuments with her dear friend, Michael Barna. She lived at Yankee Hill Apartments in downtown Milwaukee for fifteen years and befriended many of the residents and staff members there.  Jeanne was incredibly loving and generous to her family and friends, many of whom she knew since childhood.  She was especially proud of her two granddaughters, Ruby and Cassidy, as well as her niece and nephew, Samantha and Ryan.  She was a friend to so many and treasured and nurtured each of those relationships.     

She is preceded in death by her parents Helen and Richard Westphal, and her brothers Richard and Christopher Westphal.  She is survived by her daughter Jennifer (David) Kahn-Pettigrew, granddaughters Ruby and Cassidy Kahn-Pettigrew, brother Joseph (Vera) Westphal, niece and nephew Samantha and Ryan Westphal, aunt MaryJo Helfenstein, and many cousins and friends.  The family thanks her dear friends Pauline Koszuta, Jeff Peterson, and Toni Wagner for their loving care for Jeanne, especially in her last few years.  They would also like to thank Ovation Jewish Home and Aurora Sinai Medical Center for their care of Jeanne.  Donations in Jeanne’s memory can be made to National Parks Conservation Association or Civic Music Association of Milwaukee.