In Memoriam: V. Paul Kenney, professor emeritus of physics

Author: William G. Gilroy

In memoriam: V. Paul Kenney

V. Paul Kenney, 87, professor emeritus of physics at the University of Notre Dame, died Saturday (July 18) in Dujarie House at Holy Cross Village.

Kenney and colleague Bill Shephard were recruited by then President Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., to start Notre Dame’s High Energy Research Program in 1963. Under Kenney’s direction, the research group grew in size to include many professors, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and support staff. He conducted experiments at prominent accelerator facilities, including Fermilab in Chicago and CERN in Geneva, and was author or co-author of some 170 publications on elementary particle physics. He frequently represented the Notre Dame group at international scientific conferences. He had multiple visiting research appointments at the Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich and the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. He also served in the High Energy Physics Division of the U.S. Department of Energy while on leave from Notre Dame.

Kenney was a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of Sigma Xi and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

He was active in the Catholic Church throughout his life, serving as adviser to the Catholic student association at the University of Kentucky, as a lector and pre-marriage adviser at Little Flower parish in South Bend, as a member of an ecumenical council of the Diocese of Ft. Wayne-South Bend and as an adviser to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on energy and society issues.

He is survived by his wife, Margaret. Also surviving are two daughters, Ann Kenney Miller of Napa, California, and Mary Elizabeth Kenney (Mike Moran) of Evanston, Illinois; two sons, Charles D. Kenney (Caridad Marchand) of Norman, Oklahoma, and John B. Kenney (Judy) of Santa Clara, California; 13 grandchildren: Sarah and Joseph Miller; Pablo (Ellen), Maria, Tomas and Andres Kenney; Michael (Mallory), Alex (Rosemary), Kathryn and Tim (Rylee) Kenney; James, Charlie and Maya Moran; and one soon-to-be-welcomed great-grandchild.

A funeral liturgy will be celebrated at 2 p.m. Friday (July 24) in St. Therese, Little Flower Catholic Church, 54191 Ironwood Road, South Bend, with Rev. Thomas Shoemaker officiating. Committal services and burial will follow in Cedar Grove Cemetery on the campus of the University of Notre Dame, with a reception to follow at Andre Place at Holy Cross Village. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Kenney’s name for scholarships in physics to the Department of Physics, University of Notre Dame, 225 Nieuwland Science, Notre Dame, IN 46556; to St. Margaret’s House, 117 N. Lafayette Blvd., South Bend, IN 46601; or to the charity of the donor’s choice.