Oakwood Lady Niners’ rules chair & volunteer par excellence

Ann Rounthwaite

Karen Kenyon, ASU grad, OLNGA Rules Chair and former President

Karen Kenyon, ASU grad, OLNGA Rules Chair and former President

The Oakwood Lady Niners do not keep official scores during summer months when temperatures and travels reduce the number of members golfing each week. However, those in Sun Lakes continue to play in a fun, supportive environment early on Tuesday mornings. Summer is a great time to join us and play with no pressure at all. For information call Pattie Wigton at 480-895-7123.

With no recorded results to report, this seems an ideal opportunity to feature some of the OLNGA’s most active members. It is easy to identify the themes running through Karen Kenyon’s life: helping others through volunteerism, teaching and sport. One of those rare Arizona natives, she was born in Douglas, Arizona and still has family in that area. She began her lifelong involvement in sports and committees in high school. She continued while earning an academic scholarship and obtaining a B.A. in Education followed by an M.A. in Guidance and Counseling at A.S.U. It was there she acquired coaching skills in fencing and softball that led to teaching positions in Illinois high schools and colleges including Illinois State University.

In addition to those specialties she coached archery, tennis and badminton. Her coaching excellence and dedication to good sportsmanship were recognized when she received awards like Illinois and Midwest P.E. Teacher of the Year, Illinois Coaches’ Hall of Fame, Midwest Coach of the Year, and Midwest Fencing Hall of Fame. Karen derived personal satisfaction from seeing students she coached excel in their sport and develop as individuals. She coached one student all the way to the Olympics. She also achieved recognition as a proponent of women’s sports. Karen’s dedication to increasing athletic opportunities for females and fighting for her athletes’ rights led to her selection in 2008 as one of six women coaches featured in the Billie Jean King International Women’s Sports Center located within the Sports Museum of America in Manhattan.

After she retired Karen shared her skills at Sun Lakes. She served as player, coach and manager of the Sun Lakes Women’s softball team between 1997 and 2012 and achieved a record season of 15-2 in 2010. An Oakwood Lady Niner since 1997, she served as the Association’s president in 2002, 2006 and 2007 and as its Rules Chair from 2011 to the present. When she explains a golf rule to her fellow Niners her teaching experience is evident. Karen’s explanation is always audible, clear and concise and she neatly summarizes the important points. She has no trouble getting and keeping our attention!

Karen’s contributions aren’t limited to sport. She served on the Board of the Oakwood Villas from 2009 to 2011 and is a member of the American Association of University Women and Sisters of Art. Astoundingly, this year marked her 50th as a volunteer for the American Red Cross and her service was recognized at a recent ceremony. Since she graduated from college, Karen has taught CPR, first aid, swimming, and disaster response and worked on the ground to help after disasters including hurricanes, earthquakes and floods.

As a volunteer, teacher, coach and athlete, Karen has always contributed to her local and wider communities. She continues doing so. The Oakwood Lady Niners are proud to have her and grateful for her continuing contributions.