Remembering Joe

Written by Carol Bobby, former President & CEO, CACREP

Click here to jump to video tribute on our Youtube Channel

Joe Kandor, the 3rd chair of the CACREP Board of Directors, died on July 24, 2018.  He was the longest serving member on the CACREP Board having served a total of 7 ½ years by being appointed to two full 3-year terms of his own and completing 1 ½ years of a term vacated by another representative.

Joe’s appointment to the CACREP Board began on January 1st, 1987, when he replaced Dr. Larry Loesch as CACREP’s appointed representative from the Association of Measurement and Evaluation in Guidance and Counseling (AMEG), a division of the American Personnel an Guidance Association (APGA).  AMEG is now known as the Association of Assessment in Counseling (AAC) and APGA is now known as the American Counseling Association.

I remember Joe’s first CACREP Board meeting vividly, because it was also my own first meeting as CACREP’s newly hired Executive Director.  Joe and I bonded as “newbies” to the culture of CACREP and were awed by the powerful work that CACREP was doing to “professionalize” the profession of counseling.  Our first two meetings immersed us in the process of standards revision, because CACREP was on the brink of completing its first ever major revision process, culminating in the publication of the 1988 CACREP Standards. Tensions were high at those meetings. Much seemed to be at stake in terms of whether the standards should require 48 or 60 credit hours and whether practicum and internship hours should be increased from a total of 700 to 1,000 clock hours, especially for programs in mental health counseling.  I was mostly content to be an intent observer at those meetings, but I remember Joe as having a steady voice, especially with regard to increasing program requirements too quickly.  Because he was the department chair in the counselor education program at SUNY Brockport (a position he held for 29 years), Joe understood what it cost in terms of time and money to modify programs.  He also understood the types of research data that programs would need to have in hand when working with their deans and other higher-level administrators to request modifications that would increase the length and cost of a graduate degree program.

Simply put, Joe was one of those guys whose demeanor reflected a sense of confidence, fairness, and reliability. He collected his thoughts before speaking (or at least most of the time he did).  He had a sense of humor.  He was organized.  Thus, in a short 1½ years after beginning service on the CACREP Board, he was elected unanimously by the Board members to serve as its 3rd chair.  He served in this role for 6 straight years until he had to leave the board due to Bylaws requirements. I think had there not been term limits, he might have been asked to serve in this role even longer.

What do I remember best about Joe?  He was a great mentor.  He encouraged me to publish and to do research while I was at CACREP.  He told me I needed to do this if I thought there might be another job in my future.  He also encouraged me to take the Executive Director’s role at CACREP to new levels by using my both my knowledge and my voice with the Board, with counselor educators, and with other accreditors.  Plus, Joe was always willing to pitch in and help with the hard stuff.  For example, Joe was chair of CACREP when our first re-recognition application with COPA (now CHEA) was due for submission.  He didn’t want to come to DC to help me work on it, since it would interfere with his teaching schedule, so I flew up to Rochester, NY to work with him on his turf.  It was the middle of winter and it was bitterly cold, but we worked hard and completed the majority of our task.  Joe and his wife Jan rewarded me with a trip to Niagara Falls, which was actually frozen and incredibly beautiful.  What a great way to be rewarded for your work.

Another great tribute to Joe is that my two sons were also saddened to hear of Joe’s passing.  My kids were quite young when Joe and I first began our respective tenures with CACREP (ages 1 and 3). While Joe was still on the Board, they entered into elementary school and began to remember some of the people I worked with.  But Joe made sure they remembered him. He never came to Alexandria, VA for a CACREP meeting without bringing them each a bag of candy.  He was thoughtful like that.  To this day, my grown-up kids still refer to him as Joe Kandy, instead of Joe Kandor.

Joe and I remained good friends, even after he left the CACREP Board.  Periodically, he would email me to check in on what was happening.  I always loved that fact that he would address these emails to the QGEU (Queen Goddess Empress of the Universe), which was always my preferred title (so much better than Executive Director or President and CEO). The problem with Joe’s emails, however, was that they were always yelling at me because Joe only typed in all CAPITAL letters.  I think this was because he could only type with one finger and once the CAPS lock on his keyboard was on, it stayed on.  I often told him to stop yelling at me, but he said he did not care.  But, in reality, Joe did care.  He cared deeply about the work of CACREP.  He cared deeply about gaining recognition for the counseling profession.  He cared deeply about his students and the faculty at SUNY Brockport.  He also cared deeply about his friends.  He had a group of basketball-playing buddies and a group of breakfast buddies that he often talked about with great enthusiasm and fondness. For Joe, relationship was important.  But it was always clear to me that Joe cared most deeply about his family.  Joe cherished his family – his wife Jan, his daughters Ronalee and Sundae and their respective spouses, and his two grandchildren.  In later years, when I would get holiday letters from Joe and Jan, it was clear that it was his family that gave him continued and enduring meaning in his life.

Now that I, too, am retired, I think that is the way it is supposed to be.  Like I said, Joe was always a good mentor.  I will miss him greatly.

For those who wish to make a memorial gift in Joe’s name, donations made be made to the Joseph R. Kandor Award of Excellence Scholarship, c/o Brockport Foundation, 350 New Campus Drive, The College of Brockport, Brockport, NY 14420 or to the Palliative Care Program, Unit 4.1200, P O Box 278996, 300 East River Road, Rochester, NY 14627.