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Louis F. Kannenstine 

1938-2014, Woodstock

click to enlarge Louis F. Kannenstine
  • Louis F. Kannenstine

Louis Fabian Kannenstine passed from this earth Wednesday September 24th at Dartmouth Hitchcock Memorial Hospital following a massive hemorraghic stroke. Lou, as he preferred to be called, was born in Houston Texas on June 5, 1938. He was the son of Helen R. and Fabian Miller Kannenstine, a prominent geo-physicist.

Lou spent his growing-up years in Houston, graduating from high school at St. John’s School. He was very active in theater, both in school and as an intern at the Alley Theater. He also studied acting in New York for a summer with the Lee Strasberg Institute.

He then followed in his father’s footsteps and attended Washington University in Saint Louis, MO, where he graduated with a BA in 1959.

While at college, he met his future wife, Margaret Lampe. They were married in New York City on October 3, 1959, where both pursued graduate studies.

Lou stayed in academia, receiving both a Master’s degree and a PHD from New York University; the doctorate in 1971. His thesis was then published by New York University Press, titled: “The Art of Djuna Barnes, Duality and Damnation”. This work was for years the standard of excellence for insight into Ms. Barnes’ important writings. It was quoted in other scholarly works and used in college classrooms.

He taught Freshman English at both NYU and at Baruch College in New York City. While Peggy and Lou were living in the city son David and daughter Emily were born to them.

He had long had a dream of being in a small publishing company, and when the academic market dried up, Lou was fortunate to meet Peter Jennison, founder of Countryman Press, at a dinner party here in Vermont. (At that time the family had a summer house in East Barnard, and spent many happy times there.)

Just a few months after that first meeting, Peter called up, and Lou eagerly joined Countryman. Eventually, Lou, Carl Taylor and Chris Lloyd bacame the backbone of Countryman, with Lou having his own imprint “Foul Play Press” which published new and reprinted mysteries from the US and England.

Joining Countryman Press was the occasion of the happy move to Woodstock, VT, in 1980, where he was glad to live the rest of his days.

When these four owners sold Countryman Press to W.W.Norton, Lou made an attempt at being retired. It didn’t suit him. So, he began writing for New England Jazz Messenger, as jazz was another love of his. Then began his final career. Lou founded Boxholder Records which specialized in making CDs of avant-garde jazz musicians. The discs he produced were well-reviewed by the national jazz magazines; he brought out some musicians whose work was well-known and some whom he pioneered. He ran this company out of his tiny home office at Rivedell Stables.

Lou found great happiness in knowing the authors he published, and later the jazz musicians he came to know so well through Boxholder.

Louis Kannenstine was predeceased by both his parents, and son, David. He is survived by his wife, Peggy, and his daughter, Emily as well as several cousins.

The memorial service will be held on October 4th at 3:00 at the North Universalist Chapel in Woodstock. Following the service, there will be a reception in the Chapel backyard with refreshments, conversation, and even an open mic for anyone moved to perform music or share a story.

The Cabot Funeral Home in Woodstock is assisting the family, an on line guest book can be found at cabotfh.com

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