Santa Fe Living Treasures ‚Äď Elder Stories

<<Back to Treasures Index
John Kenney

Dr. John Kenney

LOVER OF THE LAND

Honored November, 1990

Dr. John Kenney

A native Santa Fean, dedicated to service after his retirement from a thirty-year distinguished military career, John Kenney returned to his hometown to become one of its leading conservationists.

Born in 1918, a descendant of New Mexico's venerable Luna and Otero families, John attended New Mexico Military Institute and Regis College before going on to West Point. He also earned his master's degree at UCLA, and completed studies at Harvard Graduate School of Business. He served in Europe during World War II and in the Korean War. During his career, he worked at the Pentagon, was assistant commandant at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he remained for thirteen years, and in 1966 attained the rank of brigadier general. One of his assignments was as hemisphere planner for the joint chiefs of staff.


During his military career, John was decorated many times, receiving four United States military decorations, two foreign decorations, and eight service medals. Immediately following his retirement in 1970 he became director of the first United States Postal Administration School at Norman, Oklahoma, where thousands of postal employees from around the nation received training. He headed Norman's United Way Fund Drive.

In 1980, John and his wife Josephine returned to the town where he was born and raised--Santa Fe. As an active hiker, camper, and fisherman, he joined the Sierra Club. He led the Rio Grande Chapter, and served as head of the Political Action Committee of the New Mexico Sierra Club. He was a highly effective spokesman on environmental issues. Clear-cutting of forests was a particular concern of his. He was active in the defense of the Carson and Santa Fe national forests. As Josephine says, "He was good at keeping the peace" and was gifted at facilitating discussion.

Please see Volume 1 for complete text.
Photo ©1997 by Joanne Rijmes