The family of Raymond “Kip” Mesirow is deeply saddened to announce his passing on the morning of Saturday, Jan. 27, after a long struggle with a neurological disease. Kip spent his last days at home, surrounded by family and friends.
Kip was born in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 4, 1941. He grew up in North Hollywood, Calif., and attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with majors in architecture and landscape architecture. He met his wife of 56 years, Mary, in 1968. Kip loved the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, and that influence can be seen in the many houses that Kip designed and built over the years.
His love of all things Japanese led him to learn Japanese joinery and go on to start a business importing Japanese woodworking tools; he also wrote and published two books on the subject. He loved his connection with the Takayama toolmakers in Japan, making many voyages throughout his career to exchange tools, techniques and other markers of the trade, as well as bringing some of those woodworkers to the States to teach their trade firsthand. A strong Japanese influence can be seen throughout much of his woodworking career, making his designs uniquely recognizable.
It was his involvement with the design and construction of Alice Waters’ restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley that started him on the path towards coppersmithing. He spent the last 40 years of his life doing architectural copper work and making uniquely beautiful copper lamps, as well as sharing his knowledge with anyone who expressed interest. His skill and passion lives on, not only in the things he made, but in the people he taught.
Kip was an avid volunteer at Charlotte Fire and Rescue for 12 years and loved the entire experience, going to fires and teaching ambulance driving. His commitment to the fire and rescue team was notorious as well as highly contagious. He loved and fostered the volunteer community and was rarely seen without his trademark T-shirt.
Above all, Kip was a loving husband, father and grandfather, and a valued friend. He will be remembered for his kindness and sense of humor, his loving nature and (of course) his fantastic mustache. His legacy survives in the immeasurable impact he has had on the lives of everyone around him, not least those closest to him. He will be dearly loved and missed for as long as he is remembered. Kip is survived by his wife, Mary Mesirow; their children, Katharine Cohen and Wes Mesirow; son-in-law, Dave Cohen, and daughter-in-law, Jenny Mesirow; his grandchildren, Isabel and Silas Cohen and Brooklyn and Jackson Mesirow; and his brother, Brian Mesirow; as well as many, many friends.
Cole Boffa of Charlotte was named to the dean’s list at James Madison University for the fall semester where he is majoring in industrial design.
Sophia Kehr of Charlotte was named to Hartwick College’s fall dean’s List. Kehr is pursuing a major in psychology.
Hailey Palmer of Charlotte was named to the University of Delaware dean’s list for the fall semester.