John Kallenberg was chair of the William Saroyan Society from November, 2005 until his death on July 4, 2012. He joined the Society’s board in 2002. He enthusiastically participated in all the Society’s activities. He was especially proud of his involvement with the William Saroyan Writing Contest for students, first grade through college. While John was Fresno County Librarian, the Library became a co-sponsor of the contest. He often enlisted library staff members as judges.
During his thirty-two years at the Fresno County Public Library, the Library’s Saroyan collection grew to be recognized as one of the largest in the United States. He was responsible for the Library’s purchase of the Abramson collection which expanded the Library’s holdings of Saroyan materials. Throughout his career, additional collections were purchased as they became available.
John participated in several panel discussions dealing with Saroyan. He was involved in the planning and implementations of local celebrations honoring Saroyan. He wrote a history of the Library’s collection for the California Library Association.
John participated in all of the Society’s activities including the annual Saroyan Walk and theatrical readings of Saroyan works at a local theater. He was editing the Society’s newsletter just days prior to his death.
John’s leadership and commitment to the William Saroyan Society will be greatly missed.