March 3, 1936 ~ June 25, 2020

Born in: Kearney, NE
Resided in: Foxfield, CO

On June 25, 2020, Gordon Neal Kenney of Foxfield, Colorado passed away peacefully at Denver Hospice from pancreatic cancer. He was born on March 3, 1936 in Kearney, Nebraska into a large family including parents Archie and Martha Kenney, and older siblings Eula, Dean, and Leland. The family moved to a farm near Corydon, Iowa when he was four, where he soon attended a one-room schoolhouse featuring an encyclopedia which he read in its entirety. It was in Corydon where he met Shirley Jeannette Hart.  The high school sweethearts were married in 1956, beginning a 64-year journey together. Eager to pursue a professional career, he (and Shirley) studied at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, followed by the University of Kansas and the University of Wisconsin, culminating in 1965 in a Master’s Degree in Radiological Physics. At the same time, he was building a family that came to include three sons: Bradley Neal (1958), Gregory Gordon (1961), and Douglas Steven (1964). After completing his studies, Gordon moved the family in 1967 to Aurora, Colorado to pursue a long career in medical physics (and program administration) at Presbyterian (later Presbyterian/St. Lukes) Hospital in Denver. Once the boys had left the nest, he and Shirley moved to Foxfield where he retired and later served as a trustee on the town council.

Retirement provided Gordon with new opportunities to focus on the long list of hobbies that had long fueled his seemingly endless curiosities—especially those that spoke to his fascination with science and technology. Cars, and the many friends that loved cars, were a lifelong obsession. His affection for classic British cars was balanced by an equal fascination with electric vehicles, a passion that included serving as President of the Denver Electric Vehicle Council and his design and construction of a 3-wheeled electric “trimuter” in 1983, a precursor to the Tesla that would become his final ride. Other vehicles included a stable of sports cars and collector cars, as well as the Turquoise Tortoise—a school bus he converted into an RV that was used to take the family on several ambitious trips across the country. Other hobbies included aviation (as a pilot), photography, and anything else that fueled the imagination of his growing family, even when it required him to attend sporting events for which he otherwise had zero interest. Among his lesser known interests included napping on the couch, Tootsie Rolls, gadgets (of all kinds), dad jokes, and teaching moments. Whenever you heard him say, “You should know how this works,” you knew a lesson in technology or life was forthcoming.

Gordon Kenney was a fantastic husband, father, friend, colleague, neighbor, teacher, role model, and counselor whose influence will continue long past his death. He is survived by wife Shirley; sons Brad (and wife Cathy), Greg, and Doug; brother Dean (and wife Doris) Kenney; and grandchildren Cody Neal Kenney and Casey Nicole Maring. His remains will be interned at the Cremation Gardens at Rocky Mountain Memorial Park in Aurora. The family has chosen to hold a celebration of a life well lived at the family home in Foxfield. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Gordon’s name can be made to Sox Place (2017 Lawrence St., Denver CO, 80215).

Memories Timeline

Guestbook

  1. Shirley and family: So sorry that Uncle Gordon is no longer with us. He was a great, funny man and I always enjoyed being around him. Much love to all of you.

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  2. Grandpa, you’ve taught us more about electric cars, nasa and space then I think anyone can comprehend. Your excitement for life was so inspiring. You always found a way to embrace us and show us your passions. I cant even count how many Triumph/Jaguar car club meetings, parades and car shows we’ve been to. Even in your final days if anyone talked about your Tesla around you, you lit up. Everyone who came in contact with you, befriended you immediately. You were one of the most lovable people. I dont think theres a person out there who didn’t love you after meeting you. Even in your final days you were still leaving us with sweet memories, speaking to each of us about how much we meant to you and you just wanted us all to be taken care of. My heart hurts so bad right now knowing we will never have another new memory together… and that Zoey wont get to grow up and experience all the fun you brought to our lives, to be able to just sit on the patio and soak up all your wisdom, and never have a sleep over with you on christmas eve eve and track santa… I just feel completely blessed to have had you as a role model. Your birthday this year was extra sweet for us because it was the day we found out we were going to be parents, and it’s bittersweet to be able to have that memory on your birthday each year. I mean who was a better role model then you when it came to being a great example of a parent! Because of you and grandma I was blessed with the amazing man I call Dad. I will love and miss you forever. I cant wait to see you again at those golden gates 💛 put in a good word for us all! 💜 until we meet again.. RIP Grandpa 03/03/1936–6/25/2020

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  3. Thank you for welcoming me into your family even when I was no longer an official member. You will be greatly missed! Shirley, may you find strength during this time knowing Gordon is at peace

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  4. Gordon was a good man, a kind and gentle soul who lit up the world. His knowledge and enthusiasm for life spread far and wide and all of us who were privileged to know him benefited in some way from that connection. Shirley, we are thinking of you and wishing you moments of peace and comfort as you celebrate Gordon’s life and cherish your memories of him.

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  5. We were privileged to get to know Gordon at the many Kenney garage parties over the years and though we may not have known him well, he was truly easy to talk to and glaringly kind. We are so very sorry your family’s loss.

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  6. Shirley and Family, It broke our heart to hear of Gordon’s passing. He was a very kind and gentle man, and always had a smile on his face. He was liked and loved by everyone he know and meet. He will not be forgotten.

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  7. The Biersdorfer’s send thier condolences. Gordon was a great man, a total car guy and simply brilliant. Gordon’s legacy lives on through his family and in the hearts of his many friends. God bless you all.

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  8. I first met Gordon in 1977. I had the great good fortune to work with him for 10 years starting in 1979 at Presbyterian Denver Hospital. It is a relationship I will treasure for the rest of my life. We had the opportunity to work together on many projects in a large number of technologies. From automating an ancient TLD reader (whose original design sprang from Gordon’s ground breaking contributions with John Cameron and N. Suntharalingam at Wisconsin), to a largely failed attempt at high current control of the Trimuter electric car using silicon controlled rectifiers ( final current control was a transistor based controller kit), to an accelerometer based G-meter for his Chevy Volt electric car. I have always considered Gordon my life’s mentor both professionally and personally. Our family’s deepest condolences for your family’s loss. Gordon, I thank you for everything. My next project is dedicated to you!

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  9. Gordon was truly “one of a kind”. A kind and caring soul. He is going to be missed by us. We truly valued his friendship and his wisdom. Our thoughts are with you Shirley and your family.
    Brad and Liz

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  10. I am so thankful you two became a part of my life early this year. It is unfair that Gordon left so soon after just getting to know him. I fell in love the moment he stood and gave an introduction of me at the Cadillac club. He was witty, charming and polite. You invited me into your home and life like I was family. Our short time together will be in my heart for the rest of my life!

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  11. I met Gordon only a couple of years ago through the Rocky Mountain Jaguar Club, and enjoyed conversations with him at a few of our gatherings. I enjoyed even more the full color club newsletters he edited, which will be just another way his spirit lives on in the many copies of his work that our members have saved. We offer sincere condolences to the entire family. Sincerely, Jim Poole.

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  12. I’ve known Gordon for several years (about 20) and will miss our infrequent but always fascinating get togethers. My condolences to you Shirley and to the family, I’ll miss him.
    Dave Farrell

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  13. Shirley,Brad,Greg, and Doug,
    We’re Thinking About All of You at this Most Difficult Time!
    Gordon Gone But Never Forgotten!! He Will Live On Through All of Us!!
    Gordon Was a True Blessing To Everyone He Faced Through His Life!
    Our Thoughts & Prayers Go To Whole Kenney Family!
    Our Deepest Sympathy!!

    Greg & RaeLynn Litten

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  14. Dale and Carol Malewska Ovid, Michigan

    Shirley – no visit to Denver was complete without seeing Gordon. I will miss him! Dale

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  15. Gordon was a wonderful man and a good human being, he was a friend to all. I was always amazed at his varied interests and intelligence and always so cordial. I will miss Gordon.

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  16. I meet Gordon through the Rocky Mountain Jaguar Club when I joined in the fall of 2017. I always felt I learned something new when I talked to Gordon. One of my favorite stories involving Gordon was when Bob Grossman and I attended the Rocky Mountain Vintage Races at High Plans Raceway in August of 2018. The races are also a fund raiser for Kids with Cancer. I was trying to find Bob and ended up running into Gordon. He was there to take a ride in Frank Albert’s MG as part of the fundraiser. Gordon was a very kind man with many interests. His family are in my thoughts and prayers.

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