Age 93, of Lansing, MI, passed away peacefully, Saturday, March 12, 2016. Bob was a loving husband, and family member, friend and mentor who will be greatly missed. He was born in Atlanta Georgia. Beside his parents, predeceasing him were son Robert Garfield Kennon, and in-laws Judith Curran, and Bridget (Curran) and Greg Stover. Bob leaves behind his cherished wife Hilda Patricia Curran, his granddaughter Ashley Kennon of Detroit, and many loving family members and friends.
Bob was a kind and gentle man. A man people looked up to and respected. He was a man of peace, love, education and politics. A worldly man who came from humble beginnings, Robert was always ready to give advice or a helping hand.
Education was an all important part of Robert’s life and the life of his loved ones. Bob excelled at school, starting out as a “Morehouse Man” in 1940 where he earned his BA in Business Administration in 1947, after serving with the Naval Construction Force (Seabees) during World War II. Bob went on to earn 3 master’s degrees, first from Atlanta University (Phi Beta Kappa) in Social Psychology, followed by the University of Chicago, in Industrial Sociology and UCLA Berkley in Sociology. He was also an “abd” for a PhD from both the University of California at Berkley and Wayne State University.
As an educator, Bob spent 12 years at A. L. Holmes School in Detroit, teaching 5-6 grade math. During his years with the Detroit School District he was active in the teachers’ union. Bob was called to Lansing in 1967 to help the Department of Education to diversify the workplace and make it reflective of the community as it provided services to special populations and the broader community at large. He became a supervisor in the Vocational Education Section, opening the door to hiring minorities, women, the handicapped and non-English speaking persons. His was the early model that other states used in implementing their special needs projects.
Bob joined with former Mayor David Hollister and others to establish the Coalition of Community Concerns in an effort to forge a political alliance between the Black, Hispanic and labor communities and to improve the relationship between the community and the Lansing Police Department. Over the years, his door was opened many times, for up and coming politicians as well as community leaders who were there for his advice, to learn from his experiences and to seek encouragement for their lives and careers.
The memory of Bob will stay forever in the hearts of Patricia and his extended family and friends. Other family members left behind to mourn include granddaughter Ashley Kennon, brother-in-law James Patrick Curran II, his wife Carolyn, and their grown sons Benjamin, Daniel, James Patrick III with his wife Polly, with their children, Sean, Liam and Tara. Also left to mourn are nieces Jena Stover and Cindy Frederickson, her husband Richard and their children Emma and Ryan. Besides family, his loss will be mourned by best friend Mary Kay Scullion, her daughter Meghan, husband Matt and children Murphy, James Patrick and Grace.
Bob’s family would like to express their gratitude to Ingham Regional Assisted Living and McLaren Hospice for their professionalism, compassionate care and support.
There will be no services. Family and friends are invited to join in a celebration of Robert Kennon’s life on Saturday, April 30, 2016, from 1:00-3:00 p.m. at the University Club of MSU, 3435 Forest Road, Lansing. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions in the name of Robert Scott Kennon, Class of 1947, be made to the General Scholarship Fund at Morehouse College. Morehouse College Office of Institutional Advancement, Gloster Hall, Room 305, 830 Westview Dr., Atlanta, GA 30314. Online or phone contributions may be made to (404) 215-2658. Arrangements handled by Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel.