2005-06-29 / Features

Walter Kaner, Gazette Columnist, Foundation Head Dies

Walter Kaner
Walter Kaner Walter Kaner, chairman of the board and founder of the Walter Kaner Children’s Foundation, died at his Port Washington home on June 26. Services were to be held on Wednesday, June 29 at noon at Schwartz Brothers Funeral Home on Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens. Interment was to be immediately after at Montefiore Cemetery in St. Albans.

In lieu of flowers, Kaner had requested that donations be made to the Walter Kaner Children’s Foundation, Inc., 2182 Third Ave., New York, N.Y. 10035.

Kaner founded the Walter Kaner Children’s Foundation in 1950 to help poor, handicapped and retarded kids in New York. His foundation has enhanced the lives of more than 250,000 physically and mentally challenged, economically disadvantaged children in the New York Metro area. Kaner truly loved children and delighted in making them laugh and improving their lives. He served on the boards of and supported numerous children’s organizations.

Walter Kaner with Santa at the annual Christmas party with the people he loved–the children
Walter Kaner with Santa at the annual Christmas party with the people he loved–the children Professionally, he was a columnist for the Long Island Press, the Daily News, the Queens Gazette and numerous publications for more than 50 years. As “Tokyo Mose” during and after World War II, Kaner aired on U.S. Army radio, answering Tokyo Rose’s broadcasts. In Japan, his “Mushi, Mushi Ano-ne” theme song, sung to the tune of “London Bridge Is Falling Down,” was so popular with Japanese children and GIs alike that Stars and Stripes , the Army paper, called it “the Japanese occupation theme song.” Elsa Maxwell’s column and radio show in 1946 referred to Walter Kaner as “the breath of home to unknown thousands of our young men when they were lonely.”

On early television, he stood in for Ed Sullivan, jokingly reminding his audiences that he was the one who rejected such acts as Harry Belafonte and Barbra Streisand. His beloved wife, Billie Elliot Kaner, shared his life for 50 years until her death on September 29, 2004. Kaner referred to Billie as “Doll Face” in his columns.

STATEMENT BY

QUEENS BOROUGH PRESIDENT HELEN MARSHALL

ON THE DEATH OF FORMER COLUMNIST WALTER KANER

Walter Kaner was a gifted and talented columnist and a great humanitarian.

The Walter Kaner Children’s Foundation and its annual holiday party were responsible for bringing countless smiles to the faces of thousands of disabled children over the course of many years. The parties were highly anticipated by the children, each of whom left with a toy, a full stomach and a hug from Santa.

Walter’s generosity of spirit and commitment to children provide a wonderful legacy for his family, friends and loved ones to take great pride in as they mourn his loss. Our entire borough joins them in mourning his death and recognizing his achievements.

May he rest in peace.

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