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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.

Meet "Popeye" - World-class volunteer and donor

Phil (Popeye) and Friends.
61 years after ship’s commissioning a Destroyer Escort Sailors Convention 2004



Capt. F. McCabe, Skipper of USS Menges (Torpedoed but Saved by her Skipper)
and Wife Betty (94 years young and 64 years married)
Phil, Gunners Mate 3/c USS Pettit DE253
Bob Quigley, CPO USS Crow DE 252

 
Phil Kenney, a volunteer member of the Willows Theatre Company set construction crew, and his family and friends have made a much appreciated donation to the JMFC -a 150' x 60' prefab steel building valued at $85,000. It will house production and technical support operations as well as scenery, costume and props storage at the amphitheater.

Phil "Popeye" Kenney was born in Hopkinton, Rhode Island in 1926, and enlisted in the Coast Guard during World War II. He married Barbara Gomes in 1949. They had two children, Wayne and Leslie.

Always with cheerful greetings, Phil brings a ray of sunshine into the Willows Theatre production shop, his colleagues agree. "I enjoy most things every day," says Phil. "When I awake and find no tag on my big toe...I get going with a smile. Old honest Abe said, 'One is as happy or sad as they make up their minds to be.' And the gift of the building in honor and memory of my loving wife Barbara Gomes Kenney is one thing that makes me happy. Barbara loved our National Parks. In 1992, after she was diagnosed to be in the third stage of Alzheimer's, we visited Muir Woods and the John Muir homestead. Barbara asked for her own National Parks lifetime pass. The Ranger gave her one. She treasured that pass until her death in 2001.

"The Willows Theatre is what I call my second family. Since 1998, I have volunteered approximately 9,000 hours and used my truck around 10,000 miles as the drayer for small sets, properties, and costumes. I have worked as a 'wood butcher' to finish carpentry and install sets at the Willows Theatre for the last five years. I did most of the carpentry for the first production of John Muir Mountain Days, and for the last three years, I've helped to build the 1200-seat outdoor Amphitheater .

"My goal is to raise $100,000 to pay for construction of the new building. I believe theater and the arts bring people together; it provides people from various cultures with shared experiences; it gives people an opportunity to laugh and cry together. For all these reasons, I think this building is a fitting memorial to Barbara, the love of my life, and to our family members and loved ones. The Phil Kenney Production Center will symbolize family and community and provide opportunities for lives filled with love and laughter. I hope you can be part of my dream."

You can help by making a tax-deductible donation to the John Muir Festival Center/Phil Kenney Production Center fund. Your gift can be in memory of loved ones that have gone beyond as well as in honor of those living. A plaque containing names of donors will be placed at the site.

DE wwii SAILORS, Marty Davis, Bob Quigley as well as Julia Loughran in Memory of Bill Jenkins her DE Sailor Dad contributed to this. A plaque especially for ALL DE sailors in memory and honor will be on display in building office, along with plaque honoring and in memory of Kenney Family and another for Killed in Action and Gold Star Mothers.


The pouring of concrete footings for the new Kenney Memorial Building

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