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   World War II vet
talks of Life, Love,
and War

Martinez, California— is the home of John Muir— the father of our National Park Service.

Barbara, Phil Kenney’s wife, loved our National Parks. In 1992 after she was diagnosed in the 3rd stage of Alzheimer's, Phil and Barbara visited Muir Woods and the John Muir Homestead.

Barbara asked for her own National Park lifetime pass. The Ranger gave her one.

Barbara passed away in 2001 after 52 years of being Phil’s Wife, Lover and Best Friend.

Barbara will have a Memorial Building, and so will the Entire Kenney Family in their Memory and Honor through Eternity, in association with the National Park Service and John Muir Homestead in Martinez, California.
"The Battle for conservation will go on endlessly.
It is the universal warfare
between right and wrong.

- John Muir, 1896
New Production Facility Opens in Memory of Donor

Longtime Willows Theatre supporter Phil Kenney was on hand for the recent groundbreaking of the new Kenney Family Production Facility named in honor of his late wife, Barbara. Kenney, near 80, a retired Coast Guard Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class, 100% disabled WWII combat veteran, and businessman, has volunteered as a scenic carpenter and painter for the Willows since 1998 and has contributed substantially to purchase the new building.

“After Barbara passed away, I found that I had more time and decided to give some of it to help our local theater. I had a pickup truck and was willing to drive it around doing errands and such,” he says. “Pretty soon, they had me working five days a week till sundown.”

Kenney, originally from Brook Farm, woody hill rd, Hope Valley, Rhode Island, came to California to be closer to his daughter, Leslie Finertie. Together, Phil and Leslie contributed and raised over $45,000 from family, personal and Willows Theatre friends and saw to the purchase of a 60’ X 150’ production warehouse which will be erected at the John Muir Amphitheater, located on Tarantino Drive in the Martinez Waterfront Park.

The facility, one of the largest of its kind in Contra Costa County, will house the Scenery and Production Center for the Willows Theatre Company and the John Muir Summer Festival, as well as the proposed Willows Cabaret Theatre in downtown Martinez. All scenic construction as well as painting, props, costumes and rehearsals will take place in the new building.

Willows Theatre Technical Director Adam Puglielli commented, “We have been somewhat cramped in our scene shop in Concord and with the new Kenney Building we will not only be able to build better scenery but we’ll be able to store the outdoor shows during the winter and make our shop available to build scenery for other production companies.”

The Kenneys’ contribution launched a tremendous outpouring of generosity geared toward seeing the building completed. Willows board member Barry Silberman, Vice President of Conco Cement, is volunteer project manager for the Kenney Facility construction. His leadership in this venture has produced more than $100,000 in in-kind support from Conco Cement and its employees, N.E. Carlson Construction, RMS-Cemex, Lord & Son, Hertz Equipment Rental, Industrial Lumber, Shell Oil Products US, Stanley Works, and Big Daddy’s construction services.

Once the foundation is completed and the building is erected, fund raising is still needed to complete the outfitting of the interior. If you would like to contribute to the completion of this project, you may make an online contribution by clicking here www.jmuirprodbldg.com or by calling Barbara Grant , Development Director at the Willows Theatre Co., at (925) 798-1824 x16, or by mailing your gift to: Kenney Family Production Facility, 1425 Gasoline Alley, Concord, CA 94520. (All gifts are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law; nonprofit tax ID 23-727-6300.)

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