John W Kenny

December 28, 2020


John W. Kenny, 77, of Ringwood, passed away on Sunday, December 28, 2020.  John was raised on Smith Street, in the Vailsburg section of Newark, and proudly attended West Side High School. He earned his Bachelors and Masters degrees from Jersey City State Teachers College, the current Jersey City University. It was there that he met his bride, the love of his life, Barbara. The two fell in love and married on April 2, 1966. They lived in Lodi and Hasbrouck Heights before building their forever home in Ringwood in 1974, raising two children.

John’s teaching career began in his hometown of Newark and then in Woodcliff Lake. In 1969 he began his teaching legacy in Haworth, NJ, where he “worked with the most wonderful children in the country” for 31 years. John loved working in the classroom, teaching middle school students with enthusiasm and love. His silly stories, songs and dances peppered daily lessons making his students want to read, to study, to learn. He gave his students nicknames, joked with them, encouraged them, loved them. His students knew they were valued and safe. He followed their successes through high school and well into adulthood, remaining friends with many to this day. He was a mentor to many of his colleagues.

During the summer months, John was the director of Day Camp Oratam for the Hackensack YMCA, a career that spanned 30 years.  He took the program from Darlington County park in its early stages, then on to Harriman State Park in NY. John poured the same energy that he gave to teaching into the camp program, giving children and young adults a safe and loving place to grow. Many of the campers came back year after year for the fun programs and even some continued on as counselors through college. John continued his positive influence on the lives of so many of his campers and employees. Many of John’s closest friends are those he met at Camp Oratam.

The combination of his experiences as both a world-class teacher and a summer camp Director prepared John for his most important role – that of grandfather.  The love that he has shown and the joy that he has taken in being with all 5 of his grandchildren is perhaps his greatest accomplishment of all. 

John is survived by his wife Barbara, his children Teresa and her husband Michael Powers and Ryan and his wife Meghan, his grandchildren: Connor, Sean, Kayleigh, Allie and Emily. He loved them deeply and treasured them all.

He is also survived by his sister Annemarie Kenny who resides in Raleigh NC. He is survived by many nieces, nephews and cousins, all whom we know will miss him terribly. John was predeceased by his parents, Thomas and Theresa (Sheehan) Kenny and his brothers James (Jimmy) and Thomas (Tucker).

John has left a legacy of love and kindness behind; the expanse of which is overwhelming. He has touched so many people in his beautiful life and he will be forever missed.

Due to concerns surrounding COVID-19, all services for John will be private.  A celebration of John’s life will be announced at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations in John’s memory can be made to the Center for Food Action, 145 Carletondale Rd., Ringwood, NJ 07456, or St. Jude’s Tribute Program, PO Box 1000, Dept 142, Memphis, TN 38148 or a charity of your choosing.

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St. Jude Tribute Program
P.O. Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis TN 38148-0142

Center for Food Action - Ringwood
145 Carletondale Road, Ringwood NJ 07456

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