Gene Dennis Kenney
Wonderful Husband, Father, & Grandfather -
Gene Dennis Kenney, age 83, of Mechanicsburg, and formerly of Wormleysburg, passed away peacefully with his loving wife by his side at the Sarah A. Todd Memorial Home on Tuesday, January 23, 2018. Gene was born on Saturday, November 17, 1934 in West Chester. He is preceded in death by his parents, John and Jane “Nanny” (Aherne) Dwyer; his sister, Mary “Betsy” McKay; and his beloved son, Dennis “Smoke” Kenney.
Gene’s survivors include his wife of 57 years, Kathleen “Kate” Marie (Kilgore) Kenney; his two daughters: Kelly Ritter and her husband, Jeff, of Boiling Springs, Suzanne “Sue” Williams and her husband, Troy, of Mechanicsburg; his daughter-in-law, Michelle (Kenney) Lewandowski and her husband, Michael, and her daughter, Bridget Kenney, of Mechanicsburg; his two brothers: John “Jack” Dwyer of Carlisle, James “Baldy” Dwyer and his wife, Julie, of Wormleysburg; and several nieces and nephews.
Gene graduated from Lemoyne High School as a part of the class of 1952. He served for six years in the United States Air Force. Gene spent four years in Japan as an air traffic controller and then served two years in the Air Force Reserve. His love for people led him down a career path of sales. He worked for Sealtest Ice Cream for several years until finding his dream job as a pharmaceutical salesman for Dow Chemical. Gene worked for Dow Chemical for 34 years. He received the award for “Top 25 Salespersons in the United States” on multiple occasions with the bonus being a trip to some exotic location. Gene loved learning and discussing the drugs he marketed. During his time at Sarah Todd, he often quizzed the nurses about the medications that he promoted. On occasion he teasingly refused to take his medication until they ensured him they knew the purpose of the drug.
Gene was a true Irishman; he loved his beer! He was the life of the party and always made everything more fun. He put so much effort into showing everyone a good time, but he loved it, he was loved for it – and he was good at it. At his daughter’s July wedding reception that was held in a large tent in Gene’s backyard, no one will ever forget him diving into the neighbor’s pool in his tuxedo. Kate was convinced they’d have to buy the tuxedo. The family room at Gene and Kate’s was big enough to hold more than fifty people. There were three couches, numerous chairs, four televisions, and a bar. Traditional parties at the Kenney house were Thanksgiving, Christmas and Super Bowl. During the Super Bowl, bingo was always hosted by Gene and Uncle Mike. Gene and Kate also enjoyed going out, every Saturday night they were out on the town and they loved to dance. When Gene built the house on Bali Hai Road, he included a mother-in-law room and Mimi was the built-in baby sitter. Gene’s sense of humor followed him all of his days. He made the nurses at Sarah Todd laugh regularly. Often you’d hear him say “Thanks Babe!”
Gene loved the water. He grew up in Wormleysburg and whenever possible, the locals would jump in their boats to go out on the river to party. Gene was an excellent swimmer and so are his three kids. Many memories were made on the Susquehanna River. In later years, Gene and Kate bought a place at Rehoboth Beach where the two would take their pontoon boat to explore the waters of Delaware. Gene and Kate also explored the Chesapeake Bay by boat with their daughter and her husband. One summer, the foursome explored the Intracoastal Waterway. Gene loved beer and hard shell crabs! During the winter, when the water was frozen, Gene and his buddy Dick took all the kids ice skating. Across the street and down thru the woods to the golf course pond, many a day and night were spent ice skating. At night bonfires or lanterns provided light out over the pond. Gene was an excellent skater and taught his kids to skate forward, backward, spin and also play ice hockey.
Gene’s sense of style was questionable. He loved hats; some of them were quite bizarre but he wore them proudly. Gene also loved pictures. His family room was decorated with tons and tons of beautiful framed prints. He liked to collect prints of the local scenery. Gene was an excellent bowler. He and Kate were on a bowling league for many years. Gene also enjoyed golfing and learned to make his own clubs. Downtime entailed recharging his batteries with a nap. He taught his kids many things besides how to swim and ice skate. Always brush your teeth. It didn’t matter if they just got home from a long road trip; the kids were marched into the bathroom to brush their teeth before bed. One of his daughters even took it to heart and became a dental hygienist. Family was very important to him. There were always get-togethers. When Gene’s mother was alive, every Sunday morning involved a visit to Nanny. She baked the best jelly rolls and cakes.
All are welcome to join Gene’s family at his gathering of family and friends on Tuesday, January 30, 2018, from 11:00 a.m. until time of service at 12:00 p.m. at Myers - Buhrig Funeral Home and Crematory, 37 East Main Street, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055; with Pastor George Spangler officiating. Gene’s family invites everyone to join them for a time of food and fellowship at the café next to the funeral home following the service.
The family sends their most heartfelt thanks to everyone at the Sarah A. Todd Memorial Home who so lovingly cared for Gene.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in celebration of Gene’s life can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 2595 Interstate Drive, Suite 100, Harrisburg, PA 17110, www.Alz.org.
Gene’s family has entrusted his care to Myers – Buhrig Funeral Home and Crematory in Mechanicsburg, (717) 766-3421. Read Gene’s full obituary, view his memorial video and portrait, and sign his official guest book at Buhrig.com.
In celebration of Gene’s life, an Irish Wake is planned for St. Patrick’s Day, Saturday, March 17, 2018. Details will be announced at a later date.