Kind-hearted, friendly, energetic, generous of his time and talent, modest, loving husband and father, excellent winemaker, great bass player, eager volunteer, passionate recycler, and all-around great guy Kenneth James Vigoda passed away on October 21, 2020 after a one year battle with cancer. He was 70 years young.
Kenn was born on July 21, 1950 in Detroit, Michigan, the cherished only child of Joseph and Rose Vigoda. After receiving his degree in chemistry at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, he moved to California in 1973 to pursue graduate studies in organic chemistry at the University of Southern California. Following grad school, he worked in a clinical lab. In 1980, he moved to Napa, California and thus began a 35 year career in the wine industry, first, as a chemist at the Wine Lab, then 24 years on the winemaking team at Raymond Vineyard and Cellar and then, as winemaker at Judd's Hill Winery. For Kenn, winemaking was a perfect blend of art and science. He loved to share his vast knowledge of wine and often said, "Wine is organic chemistry in a glass."
Kenn met Laurel "Laurie" Batha in 1978 prior to moving to Napa. They were married at the First Presbyterian Church in Napa in 1981 and welcomed their son Robert "Bobby" in 1985 and daughter Emily in 1988. Kenn adored and was very proud of his wife and kids. He was hard-working and a good provider.
Kenn was always willing to help others and he did so with joy and love. He volunteered countless hours at First Presbyterian Church and later at CrossWalk Community Church. His favorite pastimes were gardening, playing his bass guitar, and playing English handbells in the Methodist Church bell choir. Kenn was much loved and will be missed by all who knew him.
Kenn is survived by his wife of 39 years Laurie, son Bobby (Jennifer), and daughter Emily Vigoda. He is predeceased by his parents.
Due to COVID restrictions, a Celebration of Life will be held in the spring of 2021. Donations in Kenn's memory may be made to CrossWalk Community Church, 2590 First Street, Napa, CA 94558.
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