Kaye, Ira Dan

Plot Location2L1
Given Name(s)Ira Dan
Place of BirthBrooklyn, NY
Date of Birth (Eng)November 30, 1917
Date of Birth (Heb) 
Date of Death (Eng)June 6, 1999
Date of Death (Heb) 
Age at Death81
Hebrew Nameישראל דוד בן אליהו אברהם
Spouse’s NameJenny Cheung
Father’s NameEllis Kaye
Mother’s NameLeah Rubinstein
Other Surnames 
Marital StatusM
Maiden Name 
Title (e.g., Dr) 
Religious Status (כ/ל/י) 
Cause of Death 
Other Family DataDaughter: Elizabeth (Lisa) Kaye. Step-children: Alice Chinn, Judy Pong and Dennis Wong
Inscription (Eng)IRA DAN KAYE
DIED JUNE 6, 1999
Inscription (Heb)פ״נ ישראל דוד בן אליהו אברהם נולד ט״ו כסלו תרע״ח ברוקלין, ניו יארק נפתר כ״ג סיון תשנ״ט הונג קונג ת.נ.צ.ב.ה
Inscription (Other) 
HistoricalKaye was chairman of Lark International, which he founded in 1963. The company owns the UA Cinemas chain as well as several cinemas on the mainland and in Singapore and Taiwan. He also owned paging networks and a dairy farm just outside Guangzhou and established Cityline, the cinema seat telephone booking service.

He was a founding member and a past chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce, winning its community service award in 1993, and a trustee of the AmCham Charitable Foundation. (Source: SCMP)

In 1986, AmCham in Hong Kong introduced an annual award to recognize individuals who have performed outstanding service to the Hong Kong community on a voluntary basis. Recipients of the award receive a check for HK$30,000 for a charity of his/her choice and an engraved silver plate. The award was renamed the Ira Dan Kaye Community Service Award to pay special tribute to their past chairman.

Lisa Kaye wrote on July 11, 2018:
“Henry Wong, my father’s best friend and Jenny’s first husband, and my dad were involved a number of business prospects together. Henry died in a plane crash in 1968 and it was at that time that my father became integrally involved in the Wong family — as did my mother and I — for many years and continuing to this day.”

Ira was first married to Jean Miriam Wolfe.

Jean’s brother, Elliott Wolfe, wrote on July 7, 2018:
“Ira graduated from Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn. He attended one year at Purdue University then dropped out and never received any further formal education.

Jean met Ira while she had come home to Salt Lake City from living in Los Angeles attending college. Ira was there visiting his cousins. This was around 1940-41, and Ira was drafted into the army, so he and Jean married in Salt Lake, and he departed for the European Theater, leaving Jean to live in Salinas, CA since Ira had trained at Fort Ord, CA.

“My father and his brothers had a chain of war surplus stores in Salt Lake and Idaho, etc, after WWI, so when Ira came back from WWII to Los Angeles (our family moved to LA in 1943), he was looking for something to do and my father first suggested that he go out to San Bernardino, CA to see a man who was operating a 10 cent Hamburger store known as McDonalds since it was for sale. Ira was convinced that 10 cent hamburgers would never be profitable so he passed on that idea. My father then set him up in the war surplus business in San Pedro, CA in 1946. Ira, his brother Lionel (who went by the name Dick), and cousin Irving Robinson became partners in the Union War Surplus Store, which supported the entire Kaye and Robinson families until all of them later passed on, leaving the store to younger brother Alvin Kaye, who just passed away about five years ago, at which time the store closed. I used to work there in high school, and the place was an amazing success.

During the next few years Ira became involved in philanthropic issues, and he joined Lions International and the Junior Chamber of Commerce, as well as having been mentioned as a possible candidate for mayor of Los Angeles (early 1950s). Ira eventually became the World President of Junior Chamber International (JCI) where he had the opportunity to meet several world leaders, most notably Ramon Magsaisai, president of the Philippines, and they formed a friendship which led Ira to have the opportunity to open a business in Hong Kong.”

Geoffrey Emerson (Hong Kong) wrote on July 9, 2017:
“In the very late 1980s, Ira Kaye bought the famous travel agency, Lindblad Travel, headquartered in Westport, Connecticut, and with an office in Hong Kong headed by Sonya Lindblad. I worked for the company from 1984 to 1986, as Cruise Director and Sinologist on a ship chartered by Lindblad which sailed on the Yangtse River. After the June 4th 1989 Tiananmen incident in Beijing, Lindblad fell on hard times financially and Ira Kaye eventually bought the company. I don’t think it lasted for long after that. I recall meeting Ira at one point and thinking what a nice man he was.”

Herbert K. Lau, Rotary China Historian, wrote on March 11, 2021:
“Ira (紀艾華/紀愛華) was the president of the Kowloon Rotary Club (九龍扶輪社) in 1973/74. He was later elected to serve as the 18th Governor of Rotary International District 345 (Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan) in 1977/78. The day after he completed his governorship, District 346 was formed to supervise the clubs located in the central and southern half of Taiwan.

“According to the Club’s historian, Kaye described his presidency in 1973/74 as a ‘real fun year’. His style was to keep the meetings light and enjoyable: ‘I have always believed, as Fred Clemo did, that Rotary provides a diversion during the afternoon where you meet with other Rotarians and forget problems you had that morning. I made a point of finding out which artistes were in town, and invited them to come along’. Thus, one lunchtime saw members entertained to an unprecedented 3 pm by Sammy Cahn, the pianist and lyricist for Frank Sinatra. On another occasion, British baritone and ex-Goon Harry Secombe, who was staying at The Peninsula, was even persuaded, with a little general manager-style influence from Gautschi, to sing for half an hour.

“Being a past Rotary International officer in the 1980s, Kaye played a key role in The Rotary Foundation Campaign. During a speech to Rotary leaders in February 1985, then Rotary International President Dr. Carlos Canseco announced what he considered ‘the biggest news in Rotary’ — the commitment to help control polio worldwide. In June 1986, The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International organized 44 national and multinational PolioPlus Campaign Committees, and Kaye was appointed to chair the committee committee for Hong Kong and Macao. These 44 committees had been assigned to raise the total sum of US$120 million fund for implementing Rotary’s PolioPlus Program. Each campaign committee was responsible for: (1) Informing the public of the need to support PolioPlus; (2) Planning and implementing the campaign to raise contributions for PolioPlus, conformable to local laws and customs in fundraising, auditing and all other matters; (3) Raising funds, utilizing local tax laws to the best advantage; (4) Providing suitable recognition of donors; and (5) Accounting for all contributions and transmitting them to The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.

“During the 79th Annual Convention of Rotary International, held at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 22-25 May 1988, it was reported that the grand total of fund raised globally was US$119,186,869. The 1,266 Rotarians in both of Hong Kong and Macao had raised an average of US$259 per Rotarian for a total of US$328,511.”

Ricky Pang (Hong Kong) wrote on March 9, 2021:
“We are missing the cinema that you developed in Hong Kong. Thank you.”

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