These pages are dedicated to pay our respect to teachers
and administrators who shared their gifts with our class. They
may have passed away but will never be forgotten. Please let us
know of any persons that should be included to this tribute. Thank you.
Pat Voss has notified us that Ron Kenney, drama teacher at WGHS from fall of 1971 to spring 1995, passed away on Tuesday May 29. He was 88 years old and had lived in Las Vegas, NV since 1998. He will be cremated and his ashes returned to his hometown in Nebraska.
Our thoughts and prayers for his family.
A small family memorial will take place at his brother Pat’s home at a date to be determined. He wanted his ashes to be scattered on the old Wick place, across from the old Kenney home, south of Amherst.
He was born on Sept. 15, 1929, in Amherst to Lewis A. Kenney and Gladys E. (Murray) Kenney. Ron graduated from Amherst High School as valedictorian in 1946, later receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kearney (Neb.) State Teachers College and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in July 1961. He served in the U.S. Army from January 1952 to December 1953.
Ron married Shirley “Shay” Arnold of Kearney in 1950, and they were happily married until 1960 when she passed away from leukemia. Ron later married Shirley Schoonover, but they divorced after a few years due to a career conflict.
Ron’s entire life was teaching theater, a profession he loved with all his heart. He began his teaching career as a student teacher in Riverdale, Neb., moving on to Madison, Fremont and the College of St. Mary in Omaha, Neb. He ended up at Webster High School in St. Louis, beginning in 1971 and finally retiring in 1995.
He won several awards throughout his teaching career and at one point was named National Drama Teacher of the Year. Ron had a very large following on Facebook of former colleagues and students who have all expressed how he touched their lives in such a positive way.
Ron moved to Las Vegas in 1996, so he could be closer to his brothers. He enjoyed playing bridge with a group, playing the slots in the casinos and doing some traveling while he was able.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Shay; his sister, Shirley Ann; and his brother, Tom.
He is survived by his brothers, Dennis (Pat) Kenney and Dan Kenney, all of Las Vegas, and Mick Kenney of Kearney, Neb.
Posted: Thursday, June 18, 2009 12:00 am
Paul H. Brackens, the first African-American hired in an administrative position with the Webster Groves School District, died June 1, of leukemia. He was 84.
Paul was born in Lilbourn, MO. He graduated from Hermondale High School in the Holland School District at age 16, then did defense construction work until he was drafted by the U.S. Army at age 18. He served in World War II in England, France and Germany.
While stationed in Camp Hood, he took his weekend leaves in nearby Austin, Tex., where he met a Huston-Tillotson College coed whom he married following his discharge from the service. Paul and Earlene were married for 61 years, until her death in 2007.
Shortly after their marriage, the couple moved to Missouri, where Earlene began her 32-year teaching career and Paul enrolled in college. He graduated with honors from Lincoln University in Jefferson City and later received his Masters Degree from Memphis State University. He was a lifetime member of Alpha Phi Alpha.
He began his career as an elementary principal in the R-3 School District, in Caruthersville, MO. He later accepted a position with the Missouri State Department of Education in St. Louis, where he supervised special programs in Vashon, McKinley and Roosevelt high schools. After a year, he became an administrator with the Webster Groves School District, where he served for 19 years.
Paul served as a board member with Edgewood Children’s Center and the Rock Hill Public Library. He was an avid golfer, a pastime that led to him working in recent years as a ranger at Forest Park Golf Course.
He is survived by his children: Paul H. (Anne) Brackens, Jr., Gregory Norman Brackens, Kevin (Vedia) Brackens and Judith Spencer; five grandchildren: Adria Spencer-Jones, Tenisha Brackens, Kevin Brackens, Jr., Jonathan Paul Moore, Sr., Paul Michael Brackens, and three great-grandchildren: Diada Jones, Kali Jones and Jonathan Paul Moore Jr.; one sister, Fleeta of Chicago, and one brother, Jimmy, of Dayton, Ohio.
He was buried with honors at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. If desired, contributions may be made to Mother of Good Counsel Home, 6825 Natural Bridge Rd., Northwoods, MO.