“My friend Ann Kenney died in a boat accident in June of 1970. She was a teacher on an island in the Ulithi Atoll in Yap, Micronesia. She was a dedicated teacher and was much loved by the people on her island. As her supervisor, I observed her teaching skills and they were excellent. As an aside, Ann was a beautiful woman and to this day I mourn her tragic loss.” – Mike Lamont
Excerpt from The Washington Post Article, “Peace Corps Honors Its Living Ideals” by Saundra Saperstein, September 22, 1986:
Clutching the rose in one hand after the service, Marge Kenney of Valinda, Calif., spoke of her daughter Ann, who died in 1971 in a boating accident while a teacher on the Pacific island chain of Micronesia. “Why did she go?” Kenney mused. “Why does anybody want to go? It was a spirit that caught on during the Kennedy years, and she was fired up at the time.
“People called them hippies in the ’70s. But they woke us up to a lot of things . . . and we could use that spirit again.”
I never knew Ann, but I know her spirit. When I was accepted as a trainee in May, 1967, National Geographic had it’s famous Ulithi cover story, and we all dreamed of being assigned to that exotic place…and Ann got there! I instead was assigned to Saipan which initially seemed like a letdown, but i went on to have a “true Peace Corps experience”.
I sadly regret that Ann wasn’t as fortunate as I.
Peace Corps Micronesia V
Saipan, Northern Marianans, 6/67-6/69
My name is Julieann Smith. Ann Kenney is the cousin I knew only through an 8×10 photograph on my grandmother’s end table.
Ann was named for our great-grandmother Ann Cranna, also a caring and compassionate woman. She worked at Alton State Mental hospital in Alton, Illinois caring for those the world locked away and usually forgot. The Ann part of my name was for her as well. I am named after Ann Kenney’s aunt Julieann, both our mother’s sister who was a dancer in USO camp shows during WWII. She survived two plane crashes during the war and ditched in the sea of Japan just as the war had ended.
As a child growing up I spent a great deal of time with Ann Kenney’s great-grandmother for whom she was named. My parents were building a home on the next hill through the woods and “Ma” as we called her and I took naps together and were cared for by my grandmother. It was that Ann, our great-grandmother, who told me with tears in her eyes who the beautiful woman was in the 8×10 black and white photograph when I asked. It was that Ann who told me she would not be coming to visit anytime soon for she had passed away in a boating accident on a distant tropical island.
Today is May 29th, the day the world lost that amazing woman, the woman in the black and white photograph with glorious red hair and the kindest of hearts and the most beautiful smile.
Mike I would love to get to know my cousin Ann through your memories and your stories of your time together. Having been named for the three courageous women in my family always gave me more courage than I was born with I can assure you. Ann Kenney has been my hero since I was old enough to ask who was the woman in the silver frame.
Your stories would be treasure to me as someone who knew her only from a distance through a moment captured on film in a split second. Your memories would be cherished by our entire family.
Thank you for sharing and thank you for remembering ….
Ann lived across the hall from me in a beachfront apartment in Mission Beach San Diego. She was a delightful neighbor. And so lovely. We dated a few times before she left for the peace corps. Fazura Ulithi in the Yap District of the Western Caroline Islands she told me. It sounded like some kind of paradise. I missed her and fantisized about jumping on a plane and visiting… Idly Googling today and ran across her obit and the news of her tragic accident. Can’t imagine how terrible that must have been for her family. So sorry for your loss.
Dear Virginia Gomez and Mike Lamont.
I just found this site today 4/26/2020. I am Bob Kenney, one of Ann’s 5 siblings. I left a message on another site but I don’t know if it went through. We are very grateful for your thoughtful words. Ann was the best older sister one could have. Ann was fun, intelligent, thoughtful and always caring. She took us with her cool friends everywhere and was never embarrassed of us with lizards and frogs popping out of our pockets while she was practicing for a college production of’Under Milkweed’.
Her death was tragic and probably caused my Dad’s early demise. Our Mom is still here and throwing her slippers at Trump on TV at 95.
October 18, 2021
Dear Bob – I came across this website by accident and was wonderfully surprised by Ann’s pictures and then your comments. You probably don’t remember me but I was best buddies with Ann starting in grade school and up until she died. Even after so many years I still think of her and all of her family. I have regretted that I didn’t keep contact with your mom and dad. I understand from the comments that your mom is still alive. Please send my love to her and the rest of your family. Jeff and Tim may remember me.
I would love to send a message to your mom. Anyway I am still in shock that I might actually have made contact with you all again.
Thanks! Pam (Bush) Morris
I contacted Mike Lamont, who was Ann Kenney’s supervisor, but he said he doesn’t know how to contact Ann Kenney’s relatives in Los Angeles. I’ve been looking for any of her family for years. I did find a nephew of her’s but he hasn’t answered. Miss Kenney was my teacher at John C Fremont Elementary School. I was 11 years old. Actually, she was a student teacher when I met her. She used to take us on field trips. I spent a lot of time with her as she lead me through dance classes and acting classes. She was honing me to be an actor. I was in 7th grade when I was handed a note that she passed away. I was never the same again.
I just ran into this article ten minutes ago and was deeply moved by your comments. I am Bob Kenney, one of Ann’s younger brothers. Yes Ann was an exceptionally good, caring, talented , fun and giving person and we were blessed to have her as an older sister. Her passing was a major shock to her five siblings and my parents.
We have only great memories of Ann, always dancing as a child and a teen, acting in High School and college, taking her younger brothers and sister with her on outings and letting us crash at her rentals in Ocean and Mission Beach. See, this Corona Virus lock-down does have a silver lining because I ran into your wonderful thoughts.
Thank you Bob! Yes I made contact with Tim and now with you! Soon I hope to hear back from your other sister too. I’m so happy about this . Thank you for answering me!
I’m looking, still looking for the family of Anne Kenney. She was my teacher in the 70’s. I used to spend the night at her home (I was 11 and 12) and she’d take us out on field trips to the beach. I’ve searched for her mom, Marge – to no avail. Now I’m searching for Mike Lamont.
Don’t give up. This is a very touching memory
Thank you Sarah, I finally made contact!
Hi Virginia, My name is Tim Kenney, Ann’s brother (three years younger). Please feel free to contact me through Facebook. I’m in Chula Vista, Ca.
Hello Tim, Yes we made contact! Thank you very much!