Kenn was born on September 22, 1927 in Medford, Massachusetts, and was the youngest of 5 children born to Luther and Gertrude (MacLean) Thompson. Luther’s job required the family to often relocate, and as a result Kenn attended several public and private schools throughout the United States, including Massachusetts, Illinois, Georgia, Tennessee, and Washington, D.C. He graduated from Hiwassee High School in Madisonville, Tennessee.
He served in the US Air Force for three years, rising through the ranks to Staff Sergeant. He was stationed in Japan and Korea. Kenn later attended New England College (NEC) in Henniker, New Hampshire, under the GI Bill of Rights. There, he met his future wife, Janet Holmes, before graduating in 1953 with a degree in English. While at NEC, he started the Alumni Association and was the editor of the first college magazine, “Pilgrim’s Progress.” He was one of the first alumni to serve on the board of trustees of NEC.
Kenn began his professional career with the YMCA in 1959 and worked in New Hampshire, Delaware, and Massachusetts. The positions he held included: District Area Director, Youth Resident Camp Director at Camp Foss in Strafford, New Hampshire for three years, and Adult and Membership Director. Kenn was Executive Director of the Huntington Avenue YMCA when he retired from the “Y” in the in 1973. He later served as the Executive Director of the Armed Services YMCA in Ayer, Massachusetts.
After leaving the YMCA, Kenn purchased and ran “The Bike Shop,” a local bicycle and power equipment business, while also maintaining the fishing and boat livery business his parents had acquired in 1947.
In 1965, Kenn and his family settled on property in Groton, Massachusetts, in what has become the family compound. He was an active member of the Groton United Congregational Church and later the Christian Union Church in West Groton, and sang in various church choirs over 41 years. Kenn was active in several community groups, including the Freemasons, the American Legion Post #55, Hospice Volunteers, and the Council on Aging, where he served as chairman. A faithful member of the Groton Rotary Club for 35 years, he served as its President and was recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow.
Kenn enjoyed expressing his artistic side through his watercolor painting, charcoal drawing, woodworking, and making pine cone wreaths.
He was passionate about spending time with his immediate and extended family. He considered his lakeside property his “Heaven” and enjoyed sharing it with many groups, including the YMCA, Rotary Club, Hospice Volunteers, local Senior Centers, and church groups.
Kenn is survived by the love of his life, Janet Holmes Thompson, and their children, Lorraine Thompson and her husband Ilsley Lloyd, Christine Thompson and her husband Nathan Ranney, and Jeffrey W. Thompson Marly, all of Groton, Massachusetts; and David H. Thompson and his wife Angela of Londonderry, New Hampshire. He is also survived by his brother in-law Joseph Sullivan of Attleboro, Massachusetts.
Kenn and Janet were blessed with 11 grandchildren: Mark Weise; Brianne Weise Weider and Evan; and Nicholas Weise; Sarah and Rebecca Ranney; Christopher and Jennifer Thompson; and Jeremy, Danielle, Natalie, and Isabella Thompson. Kenn is also survived by his “adopted” children and grandchildren, Steve and Ulla Weise and their children Daniel and Karina of Littleton, Massachusetts. He also leaves behind special nieces and nephews: Gary Boles and Charla, Terry Sullivan and Nancy, Karen Tamagini and Jay, Jay Boles, and Ken Boles. He was expecting his first great-grandchild in May, 2014.
Kenn and Janet were blessed to celebrate 60 years of marriage in June 2013 at an event that included members and attendees of their wedding as well as many relatives and close friends.
The family is grateful for the compassionate care and attention Kenn received, particularly at Apple Valley Center, in the ICU at Nashoba Valley Hospital, and from the local EMTs.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend visiting hours at the Badger Funeral Home, 45 School Street, Groton, Massachusetts, on Thursday, February 27, 2014, from 3-7 Pp.m., followed by a brief ceremony of faith.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Christian Union Church, 37 W. Main St, Groton, Massachusetts 01450, or to the Nashoba Nursing Service and Hospice, Two Shaker Rd, Shirley, Massachusetts01464.
The family is planning a celebration of Kenn’s life to be held in the spring.