At 8:30 a.m. March 26, 1917, a beautiful baby girl was born to Robert and Sarah Jane Tener in San Francisco. Roberta grew into an even more beautiful young woman, who loved to play tennis and ride horses in Golden Gate Park. Very intelligent throughout school, she graduated from Poly Tech High during the Great Depression, preventing university plans. She became her father’s import/export produce company bookkeeper.
She met her future husband, Morton Kenney, at a dance, and said he was the cutest one there. They married in July 1939. Their first daughter, Marciel, was born in October 1940. Roberta became a Navy wife during World War II. Lt. Commander Kenney served in the Pacific and came home on VJ day. Their second daughter, Patricia, arrived in October 1945.
Roberta worked in medical records at UCSF hospital for many years. Relocating to Davis in 1955, she began her career in the political science department at UC Davis and later in international relations as an academic advisor. She adored the students, and they loved her. They called her “Mom,” and sent postcards and letters from the world over. She retired after 25 years. Her wonderful sense of humor and gracious and generous heart has left ours with a giant hole in the middle.
Roberta was 94, and died suddenly on Thursday evening, April 28, 2011. She was preceded in death by her husband, Morton E. Kenney, and her two sisters, Emily Armand and Dawn Donnellan. She is survived by two daughters, Marciel Baker and Patricia McCaleb, and sons-in-law Gene Baker and Bruce McCaleb; niece Betty Hodge; nephew Andre Armand; granddaughters Eileen Gorman and Lysa Sherman; grandsons Daniel and Craig Gorman; and nine great-grandchildren. Graveside services will be held at the Davis Cemetery at noon Monday, May 9. Memorials in lieu of flowers may be made to the American Heart Association.