Parade marshal named
By Kelly Feser Eells
Everyone loves a parade, the people of
The Ojai Independence Day Parade is a special source of community
pride, the announcement of its grand marshal as anticipated as
the event itself.
And who is this year's honoree?
Tireless community volunteer Jess Kahle, who, despite his official
"retirement" from Thacher School in 1972, worked with
students nearly every afternoon, uncompensated, until his 95th
birthday last November.
Kahle, a professional horseman, was hired as director of Thacher's
Horse Program in 1958. Yet he's known mostly for his kindness,
generosity, and compassion.
Ojai resident Patti Michaels met Kahle when she was 12 years
old. "Jess is one of the most positive influences and mentors
in my life," said Michaels, who notes that, while she did
not attend Thacher, Kahle was generous enough "... to teach
me the relationship between horse and rider. But his wit and
wisdom went beyond the horses," she added. "Jess is
as honest as Abe Lincoln, with a sense of humor and wit like
Will Rogers. He is an angel sent from heaven."
Thacher Director/Head of School Michael Mulligan echoes Michaels'
sentiments. "While everyone who knows Jess knows he is a
sage, the truth is, he is also one of the most selfless men we
have ever known. He continues to be a volunteer through his church
and helps anyone in need. It will honor Ojai and Jess to have
him serve as grand marshal."
Alumni from the 1950s to the present credit Kahle with teaching
them responsibility, self-discipline, and respect for all life.
"Human or animal, Jess touches everyone's life that he walks
into," said Christine Maggio.
But perhaps the ultimate compliment was paid by John Huyler,
Jr. "I named my daughter, Jesse Huyler, after him."
The Ojai Valley News
to the news
KAHLE continued to teach at Thacher School well past retirement.