F. Warren Kahn, a longtime attorney in Niagara County known as much for his sense of humor and love of golf as his respected law practice and influential appointed legal roles, died Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020, surrounded by family in his home in Youngstown. He was 87.
Kahn, who hung a shingle in Lewiston and practiced law on his own for much of his 54-year career, also served in several appointed positions. Some of them include: assistant Niagara County district attorney; first assistant Niagara County attorney for 10 years; town attorney in Wheatfield, Niagara and Wilson; school attorney for the Wilson and Lewiston-Porter school districts; labor-relations specialist for Erie 1 BOCES; legal assistant for the New York State Assembly; and special counsel to the towns of Lewiston and Porter.
After retiring in 2013, Kahn’s sense of humor was so loved by members of a neighborhood social group that they asked him to be the group’s stand-up comic for their monthly gatherings. He often practiced the jokes before presenting them and assured his family that most of the jokes were clean.
Kahn was often described by colleagues and clients as a consummate professional with unwavering principles, and even more often as a “sweetheart,” “gentleman” or “mensch.” In a sealed, hand-written note titled “To Be Read At My Funeral,” he said he “died a happy man” and that he was writing the note because “as a lawyer, I’m trying to get in the last word.”
His humor was evident even as he waged a long battle with cancer. Despite pain and other ravages from disease, he remained kind and hilarious – his one-line zingers intact, always joking with family, friends and others caring for him right up until he was too weak to speak.
Kahn was an avid golfer and longtime member of Niagara Falls Country Club, where he golfed every Saturday, weather-permitting, for more than four decades. He was an enthusiastic sports fan who supported local teams, attended many Super Bowls, and loved watching the New York Yankees on TV.
Kahn was born and raised in Niagara Falls, received a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in 1951, and graduated from the University at Buffalo School of Law in 1955. He spent 11 years in the U.S. Army Reserves.
Kahn was a lifetime member and past president of Temple Beth El in Niagara Falls. He was a director of the New York State Bar Association, Municipal Law Section. He was a president and director of the New York State Association of School Attorneys and was one of the founding members of the Niagara County Employee Credit Union. He supported many local charities.
Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Leila; two sons, David, of San Francisco, and Alan, of Lewiston; a daughter, Elizabeth, of Buffalo; four grandchildren and three step-grandchildren.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, burial is private and a memorial service will be scheduled at a later date.
Arrangements entrusted to Hardison Funeral Homes. Visit www.hardisonfuneralhomes.com for online condolences.