Theo J Kenyon
Cumerford-Clary Funeral Home - Peoria
428 West McClure Avenue
Peoria, IL
Theo Jean Kenyon, 99, died November 19, 2021, in Peoria, IL. She was born on September 5, 1922, in Peoria, the only child of Theo (Younglove) and Eugene Ahrends. She married Leslie H. Kenyon October 23, 1954, and he died January 11, 2011.
Theo graduated from Peoria High School and Northwestern University where she was the first woman editor of the Daily Northwestern, the campus publication. She was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa national honor society. After graduation, she joined the Journal Star in 1944, working there until 2010, as a reporter, feature writer, and arts critic.
Her decades-long career at the Journal Star included press coverage of Presidential candidates from Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy and Governor Adlai Stevenson II. She also reviewed plays, concerts, and art shows.
She was a charter member and twice President of the Peoria Newspaper Guild, and walked the picket line in its strike to acquire health care coverage for its members.
She was a supporter of the Central Illinois Landmarks Foundation, the Heartland Festival Orchestra, the Peoria Symphony Orchestra, Lakeview Museum, and the Peoria Art Guild. She was a member of the Universalist Unitarian Church
Theo loved The New Yorker magazine and taught classes on it for OLLI, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Bradley University. She also corresponded with its editor when questions arose. She was a generous person who gave wonderful Christmas parties and gifts to friends. She could be counted on to supply treats for any party she attended.
Theo worked with her husband on historic preservation, helping to save The Grand Army of the Republic Hall. In 2015 she donated the funds for the Hall's elevator in his honor.
Her husband, Leslie, was head of Kenyon and Associates Architects, designing many public buildings, including Peoria Players Theater and more recently the Universalist Unitarian Church, 300 W. Richwoods Blvd., Peoria.
Survivors include several cousins.
Memorials may be made to the Central Illinois Landmarks Foundation at or the Universalist Unitarian Church. Online tributes and condolences and memorials may be made at
A private burial of ashes will take place at Springdale Cemetery. Cumerford-Clary Funeral Home, 428 W. McClure Ave, Peoria, is in charge of arrangements.
A memorial service and reception will be held at the Universalist Unitarian Church, 3000 W. Richwoods Blvd., Peoria, IL. at 12 noon on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Theo J (Ahrends) Kenyon, please visit our floral store.
Published by Legacy on Nov. 29, 2021. reports daily on death announcements in local communities nationwide. Visit our funeral home directory for more local information, or see our FAQ page for help with finding obituaries and sending sympathy.
To plant trees in memory, please visit the Sympathy Store.
To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Funeral services provided by:
Cumerford-Clary Funeral Home - Peoria
Add a Message

Not sure what to say?

4 Entries
I was so sad to learn of your passing Theo Jean, I always looked forward to our conversations. I will miss talking to you. Rest in peace. With love, Leslie
Leslie Fernandes
December 28, 2021
Lynn A Fraley
December 6, 2021
Larry D Davis
December 5, 2021
Sam, My deepest condolence to you. You were her best friend and she counted on you and you were always there for her. May God bless you for that. She was a generous giver to many. She had alot of faith in God. I loved her alot. May God help you in your healing because I know you miss her alot.
christi Smith
November 29, 2021
Showing 1 - 4 of 4 results