The New York Press Club is sorry to report that longtime member, friend, and Journalism Awards judge, Chris Kokenes, has passed away after a courageous battle with a rare form of cancer.
Chris, 57, was born and raised in Brooklyn, which was a source of immense pride, and graduated from Brooklyn College with a journalism degree, kicking off a 28-year career at CNN, first as an intern, then working his way up to managing the New York Assignment Desk. Chris loved his job and was known as a level-headed and decisive force when major stories hit and all hell broke loose around him. He was a beloved colleague known for his consummate professionalism, thoughtfulness, and immense kindness. It was a natural fit for him, as he was a died-in-the-wool newshound who loved reading The New York Times from cover to cover and debating politics with the best of them.
Chris was extraordinarily kindhearted and caring. He loved his family and friends with a fierce passion, and will be remembered for his warm smile and for always putting others first. He was also very proud of his Greek heritage and loved traveling the world with his family, especially spending quality time at the beach with his wife, Kitty, and three-year-old son, Luke. Chris loved Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, science fiction, baseball, comics and public radio. He cared deeply about the greater good, the U.S. and always made that extra effort to do the right thing.
Chris is survived by his loving wife Kitty, who was by his side through his illness, and Luke, his proudest achievement. He is also survived by his brother John, sister Electra, and an extended family of nieces, nephews, cousins, and lifelong friends.
A memorial service will be held on February 29th, 10 AM at Barrett Funeral Home, 148 Dean Drive, Tenafly, NJ 07670.
In lieu of flowers, Chris had asked that donations in his memory be made to the New York Press Club. If you’d like to make a donation, please mail it to: New York Press Club, 2585 Broadway, Box 237, New York, NY 10025.