Josh Kadish was a mediator, attorney, musician, husband and father extraordinaire. Born in NYC to June and Sanford Kadish, Josh grew up in Salt Lake City, Michigan, Cambridge, and Berkeley, CA. Josh met the love of his life, Lisa Maas, at age 16, playing oboe in the Berkeley High School Orchestra. Music was a central part of his life, and he was an outstanding classical and folk/rock musician. Throughout his adult life, he sang in choirs with Lisa (most recently the Bach Cantata Choir) and in a barbershop quartet called “the Sandals” (a tribute to Josh’s favorite footwear, usually worn with white socks) that performed at benefits, senior residences, and community gatherings. He sang his original songs about love, food, and aging from his album “Middle Aged Guy with a Guitar”, entertaining audiences at Seattle’s Folklife Festival, Hillsdale Farmers Market, and other locales.
After graduating from Haverford College, playing oboe semi-professionally, dropping out of Oxford, and trying his hand at carpentry, Josh pursued a career in law. He received his JD from Stanford University in 1979 and then clerked for the Oregon Supreme Court. In 1983, he joined and soon became partner at Meyer & Wyse LLP, which later became Wyse Kadish LLP. Josh was a founding board member of Oregon Mediation Association and served as an officer on the board for over a decade. He received the prestigious Sidney Lezak Award, and was consistently named one of Oregon’s Super Lawyers and recognized on the Best Lawyers in America list. In 2014, he was their Lawyer of the Year for Family Mediation. Josh taught family law, negotiation, and mediation for over 25 years as an adjunct professor at Lewis and Clark’s Northwestern School of Law. He was committed to mentoring young attorneys throughout his career, and for many years, he regularly volunteered helping indigent immigrants at Legal Aid.
Josh’s professional accomplishments never interfered with his devotion to creating a loving family with Lisa, parenting their three sons--Nathan, Seth and Jonathan--- in his consistently good-natured and supportive way. He cheerfully participated in their interests and shared his own – going to concerts, playing Frisbee and chess, doing crosswords, delighting in ants and birds, reading voraciously, singing, and practicing musical instruments. He was a fabulous cook, specializing in meals that cleaned out everything in the freezer.
Josh was passionately committed to community work, serving as president of the board of Neighborhood House, Chamber Music Northwest, Hillsdale Farmers Market, and Young Musicians and Artists, and being an active member on numerous other boards. On Saturday mornings, he was often spotted picking up litter around Hillsdale, and he actively supported the Hillsdale Farmers Market since its founding, setting up early in the morning, rain or shine, and playing music which engaged market visitors, young and old.
He had a reputation in the community for his integrity, dedication, and fairness. He was also unpretentious, generous and kind, with a wry and quirky sense of humor, a prodigious knowledge of obscure facts and word definitions (sometimes made up), and an unfaltering readiness to help out in whatever capacity he could.
After 15 months of living with intention and gratitude for all he had been able to experience in his life, Josh died with dignity, surrounded by family, on October 7th, 2018. “It’s been a great trip,” he said calmly, as he drifted off. Josh is survived by family all of whom loved and admired him deeply--his wife, sons, daughters-in-law (Lindsay, Dana, and Connie), grandchildren (Henry, Franklin, and August), brother (Peter), and many devoted relatives and friends of all ages. A celebration of his life will be held in the Eliot Chapel at the First Unitarian Church of Portland on December 15th at 10:00 AM. In lieu of flowers, please donate to Neighborhood House in Josh’s name.