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Brice's Family

Kirkendall Effect Anniversary

Brice with Ernest Kirendall, Aunts Carol and Bobbi
Brice's paternal grandfather, Ernest Kirkendall, was a well-known metallurgist who discovered The Kirkendall Effect. Brice accompanied Ernest to the 50th commemoration of The Kirkendall Effect at The University of Michigan (above left). Here, Brice celebrated Ernest's 90 birthday with his two aunts, Carol Leunk and Bobbi Davis, sisters of Brice's dad. Carol, her husband John Leunk, and Bobbi have all been teachers. John is a master builder and Bobbi's husband, Tom Davis, is a financial wizard.
Brice's maternal grandparents, Paul and Dorothy Johnson, were each descended from families who came to the United States before they were the United States. They lived long lives and celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary right).

The Paul Johnson Family at their 70th Anniversary Party.


Paul, a master machinist who assembled a Model T Ford at the age of nine, taught Brice to drive and to be skeptical of just about everything.

Dorothy, like Mayra, loved hats and was an expert seamstress; she has bequeathed a special gift for the couple. Brice's maternal uncle, Raymond Johnson and his wife Freida, have always provided a model of how to balance hard work, with a sense of style, good humor, and fun.

Brice's Parents

Howard Kirkendall, Brice's father, grew up in New Rochelle, NY and earned both a BS and and MS from MIT. While working for IBM as a systems analyst, he obtained an MBA from NYU and continued at IBM in financial analysis. His eclectic tastes encompassed Brooks Brothers suits, double-entry bookkeeping, raisin cookies, and Ralph Nader. The photo at left shows Sandra and Howard at a Simmons College prom. Howard's photograph of Brice at 2 1/2 hours is shown below left.

Brice, 2.5 hours old

Brice at 2 1/2 hours

Howard and Brice at 8 months
Brice's Christening
Howard and Brice at 8 months Brice's Christening

Sandra Combs, Brice's mother, grew up in rural Indiana and plotted her escape to college by entering science fairs with her learning experiments on white rats. The main result of her experiments was a scholarship, and she graduated from Simmons College in Boston where she met Howard. The couple moved to New Jersey where she earned an MS from Rutgers. She was an early childhood educator and Silver Penny Puppeteer for 10 years before rebooting and changing careers to computer programming and web design. She is the developer of a family medical records software program called Health-Minder and, with her partner Betsy January, has a web design company called WEBspertise that specializes in non-profits.

After Howard died, she met and married David Combs, and they will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary this year.

David and Sandra
David & Sandra Combs

David Keiser Combs, Brice's step-father, is from an old cattle ranching family in Texas. But, with an irrepressible fear of snakes, David decided a more congenial career choice would be computer programming where he could deal with bugs instead of rattlers. He graduated from Dartmouth and has an MBA from Stanford. He headed the team that developed a financial programming language, Cuffs88.

London, Ballerina

Double HappinessLondon Kirkendall's childhood interests were ballet, gymnastics, and creative writing. She graduated from Johns Hopkins and went on to earn a Ph.D. from Princeton with a specialty in Chinese environmental politics. She lived (and breathed coal dust) for two years in Beijing as she worked on her dissertation. She now devotes her considerable energy and literary grace to writing grant proposals for the Chinese-American Planning Council, an eminent social service agency serving the needs of the Asian community of New York City. She lives in Jackson Heights, Queens and revels in its ethnic diversity. She wishes Double Happiness for Brice and Mayra.