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Published: Tuesday, 12/28/2010

Dr. Jack Kenyon, 1915-2010: Psychiatrist honored for practice, paintings

Dr. Jack Kenyon, a medical officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II who moved to Toledo to begin a psychiatry practice, died Thursday at Lake Park Comfort Care in Sylvania.

The cause of death for Dr. Kenyon, 94, was not available, but his daughter Jean Oldham said he contracted pneumonia that led to his placement in Lake Park on the campus of Flower Hospital.

Dr. Kenyon became a director of the Mental Hygiene Center and chief of psychiatric services at St. Charles Hospital, now Mercy St. Charles, and later Toledo Hospital.

Dr. Kenyon was born Dec. 15, 1915, in Brantford, Ont., and received his medical training at the University of Toronto.

He received his psychiatric training at Ontario Hospital and Toronto Psychiatric Hospital, where he was awarded the Faulkner Gold Medal.

As a medical officer he was stationed in Canada, England, North Africa, and Italy from 1940 to 1945.

After his discharge, he moved to Hartford, Conn., where he became senior psychiatrist at the Institute of Living. He moved to Toledo in 1949 when he was named director and psychiatrist of the Mental Hygiene Center.

Mrs. Oldham said her father worked part time for the mental health institute and part time at the Toledo Clinic at Collingwood Boulevard and Woodruff Avenue. His offices, in a former coach house behind the facility, were dubbed the "couch house."

"He didn't care for that," Mrs. Oldham said.

Dr. Kenyon was thrust into the public eye 1961 when he was attacked in his Collingwood office by an intruder who was the boyfriend of a woman he was treating at the time.

The intruder, a physician from St. Louis, fired tear gas from a penlike device into Dr. Kenyon's face, according to reports in The Blade.

He wasn't seriously hurt. Mrs. Oldham said her father was dismayed when police seemed disinclined to pursue the case. The attacker was later charged with two rapes in another state, and the local charges were dropped, she said.

Mrs. Oldham said the attacker was "pretty sick."

In his free time and during retirement, Dr. Kenyon painted and took photographs, with landscapes and flowers among his favorite subjects, his daughter said. He would often paint from the photos he took and he donated several paintings to small museums in Canada, where he liked to visit.

Mrs. Oldham said her father won an award for a painting he entered in an exhibition of fellow medical practitioners. The Toledo Academy of Medicine used one of his paintings for the cover of its magazine, she said.

Before he fell ill with pneumonia, he lived in Oakleaf Village independent living and assisted living facility, where he kept up his gardening skills.

When he first moved in, he was disappointed that the facility had only a single oak tree. He planted scores of trees on the grounds on Holland-Sylvania Road, including oak, maple, and pine.

Worried that the sandy soil would not support his trees, he began fishing in the stream that runs through the Boys Scouts' Camp Miakonda off Sylvania Avenue and would take the carp he caught back to Oakleaf to bury with the trees to provide nutrients.

Dr. Kenyon is survived by his daughters, Jean Oldham, Wendy Kenyon, Brenda Kenyon, and Julia Kenyon, and seven grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Jean, and daughter Linda Dorrell.

There is no visitation, and a memorial service is planned at a later date, Mrs. Oldham said. Arrangements were handled by Walker Funeral Home.

Memorials are suggested to Toledo Botanical Garden.

Contact Jim Sielicki at: jsielicki@theblade.com, or 419-724-6050.

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