Jenny Moreland Kennon

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Jeanette Claire Woodard Moreland "Jenny" Kennon

(Shreveport real estate developer)

Political party Republican

Born August 14, 1939
Minden, Louisiana
Spouse (1) Jack Wade "Jackie" Moreland (married 1958-1971, his death)

(2) Edward Francis Kennon, Jr. (married 1974, divorced)
Children:
Jennafer Moreland "Jenna" Litschewski
James Stephen "Jamie" Moreland

Religion Southern Baptist-turned-Episcopalian

Jeanette Claire Woodard Moreland Kennon, known as Jenny Kennon (born August 14, 1939), is a real estate company owner in Shreveport, Louisiana , who was formerly married to National Basketball Association star player Jack Wade "Jackie" Moreland (1938-1971) and the former Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Edward Francis "Ed" Kennon, Jr., who is also a developer in Shreveport.

The younger of two daughters of Homer Charles Woodard (1902-1975) and the former Velva Hines (1909-1967), Kennon was reared in a modest house on the Sibley Road in Minden in Webster Parish. Her father was a dragline operator for the former George Winford Construction Company; her mother contracted tuberculosis when Jenny was a first grader and ultimately lost a lung and a portion of her second lung and died at the age of fifty-eight of pneumonia.[1]

Kennon attended public schools in Minden for thirteen years. She studied at Minden High School from 1953 to 1957. Active on the MHS swim team, she became particularly close to her coach, Joyce Eileen Hillard (1926-1996), a native of Baton Rouge who was the first woman to play on the Louisiana State University tennis team. On the Minden High faculty from 1951 to 195, Hillard subsequently joined the physical education faculty at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, from which she retired. Kennon said that Hillard was "a woman way ahead of her time, independent, confident with a never-say-die attitude. ... She made the students think that they could accomplish anything, and we did accomplish a lot by working so hard and and just believing we could do it."[1]

Kennon met Jackie Moreland in 1955, when he moved to Minden from neighboring Claiborne Parish. His success in basketball began at Minden High School under Coach Cleveland "Cleve" Strong (1924-2008), whom Kennon called "the best basketball coach around anywhere [then]. ... We both loved him dearly, and I remember his twinkling, smiling blue eyes when Minden's teams won or did well, and they nearly always did!" Moreland's success in basketball continued at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston under Coach Cecil Carl Crowley (1908-1991). Moreland was drafted by the Detroit Pistons and later played for the New Orleans Buccaneers.[1]

The couple did not start dating until her high school graduation in 1957. Moreland returned from a single semester at North Carolina State University in the capital city of Raleigh before heading to Louisiana Tech. The couple wed at the First Baptist Cburch of Minden in 1958, after she had completed a year as a student at LSU. She later took other college-level courses but never received a degree.[1]

Moreland recalled contract negotiations in the range of $20,000 to $25,000, considered a reasonable amount in that day. While the basketball teams paid whatever it would, Moreland said that he would have played the game for no salary had that been possible. Being on the road, he missed the births in Detroit in 1961 and 1964 of his two children, Jennafer "Jenna" Litchewski, and James Stephen "Jamie" Moreland , respectively. Then Governor Edwin Edwards, a friend of the Moreland family, urged Jackie to campaign for Edwards, who shortly before Moreland's death narrowly defeated then state Senator J. Bennett Johnston, Jr., for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 1971. Of course, Moreland was too ill to campaign, but Jenny said the two were touched by Edwards' kindness toward them.[1]

After a four-month fight, Moreland died at the age of thirty-three of cancer of the pancreas, liver, and stomach. Three years later, in 1974, Jenny married Ed Kennon, a real estate developer and a nephew of Governor Robert F. Kennon. Ed Kennon served for two six-year-terms on the public service commission and had been an unsuccessful candidate for lieutenant governor in the 1971 state Democratic primary. When Ed Kennon filed for divorce and married a much younger woman, Jenny went to work selling real estate for Beal Locke in Shreveport. She later moved to Lea Hall Properties, founded by her friend Lea R. Hall, Sr. (1939-1995). After Hall's death, she and a couple of partners bought the company but kept the name Lea Hall Properties. Jenny Kennon is a former president of Northwest Louisiana Commercial Realtors, a former director of Northwest Louisiana Board of Realtors, and a member of the National Association of Realtors and the Shreveport/Bossier Business Women’s Council.[1]

On May 14, 2018, Kennon addressed the Dorcheat Historical Association "Night at the Museum" in Minden to give an updated report on the Jackie Moreland sports legacy. Her talk was entitled "From Minden to the NBA."[2] She was assisted in the presentation by her brother-in-law, Edd Moreland, and her daughter, Jenna Litschewski, who recalled how Moreland always urged her "to work on the things you don't do well. Edd Moreland recalled the family had a basketball goal in the yeard in the Harris Community and moved to Minden so Jackie could play for Minden High School.[3]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Billy Hathorn. Jenny Kennon. Mindenmemories.org. Retrieved on May 18, 2018.
  2. Dorcheat Historical Association and Museum, Inc.. Museuminminden.blogsport.com (March 20, 2018). Retrieved on May 18, 2018.
  3. David Specht (May 15, 2018). Remembering Jackie Moreland. Minden Press-Herald. Retrieved on May 19, 2018.