Obituary of Earlyne Kennell
Earlyne Sampson Kennell, 85, died peacefully in her sleep on Friday March 9, 2018 at the Conesus Lake Nursing Home. Earlyne is survived by her son Jeff, daughter-in-law Cordula, and grandchildren, Maggie, Lena, and Wyatt Kennell, and her dear sisters, Marie Phelps and Dorothy (Dennis Spilman) Lysyczyn and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. She is predeceased by her parents, Ralph and Iola Sampson, her husband of 44 years, Donald Kennell, her devoted son, Greg, and her brother Ed Sampson.
Earlyne was born in Caribou, Maine, where she attended a one-room school house before moving to Western New York in 1940. A part of the great migration that saw waves of Maine farming families move into the area, she grew up on Oak Hill in Arkport, surrounded by potato farms and neighbors who became lifelong friends. A graduate of Arkport Central School (class of 1950), she earned a degree in business from Bryant & Stratton in 1952 and worked for six years as a legal secretary at the Shults and Shults law firm in Hornell, NY.
She married the love of her life, Don, on September 16, 1956, and spent the early 1960's as a stay-at-home mom before taking a job as secretary to the Superintendent of Arkport Central School in 1964, where she enjoyed a rewarding career that spanned over 40 years, and took her from typewriters to keyboards, from filing cabinets to the internet. From her post in the front office, she was the face of the school, and she loved greeting students on their way in and out of the building. Generations of Arkport kids remember her kindness (and her ever-replenished bowl of Hershey chocolate kisses).
Along with Don, Earlyne built the house where they resided on Lisman Lane and she took great pride in maintaining a home that was always open to relatives, friends, and visitors. She collected blue jays and bells, kept extensive scrapbooks and photo albums, and loved to travel, spending many summer vacations in her favorite getaway, Cape Cod. She spent many an evening at Arkport School Board Meetings, taking shorthand minutes in her role as district clerk, and in the pre-computer days, she unleashed her still-formidable typing skills in producing the school newsletter, the Ark-re-Porter. As a notary public, she signed countless official documents over the years.
She was a proud member of the Steuben County Secretary's Association, serving as an officer of that group, and she mentored a number of young assistants, providing them with hands-on experience in office work. As a long-time member of the Presbyterian Church, Earlyne espoused the golden rule, and tried her best to practice what she preached, treating others as she wished to be treated herself. In her own quiet but resolute way, she championed the rights of women and gay people—at a time and place when such views were seen as heretical and involved genuine risk. Through it all, she never let go of her belief that people are fundamentally good, if sometimes misguided.
There will be a funeral service for Earlyne at the Rector-Hicks Funeral Home, 111 Main St. in Geneseo at 10 AM on Friday, March 16, 2018. Donations in Earlyne's name may be made to the Arkport Central School Libraries, 35 East Ave., Arkport, NY 14807.