On January 11, 2024, Kenlyn Meryl Rini departed this world on the wings of angels - not a euphemism. Her family witnessed this miracle and are still finding feathers. If you knew our mother, a winged escort into The Holy Mystery is not out of the realm of possibilities.
In her 82 years, Kenlyn wore many hats: wife, mother, godmother, grandmother, teacher, neighbor, and she was a friend to all who knew her. She was a cheerful woman who greeted each day with her special brand of optimism. Kenlyn loved to laugh.
Kenlyn lived by the principle that "The Good Lord is watching over us.” She never uttered an unkind word about others and she believed all people were good at heart. Kenlyn remembered every birthday and we will miss receiving the greeting cards and care packages she sent just to show her love.
Her heaven, we imagine, is a blend of Thomas Kinkade's paintings and Norman Rockwell's depictions of American life – charming, wholesome, and filled with all the things she held dear. She loved oak trees, black coffee, Bubbie Rye, and her player piano. Her favorite color was plaid.
Kenlyn found joy in the simple pleasures of life. She savored life's flavors and her warmth and hospitality was evidenced in her kitchen, a haven of comfort where her oval table always had "room for one more."
Kenlyn’s daily “uniform” included a turtleneck, sweatshirt, and a pair of gym shoes. She loved reading novels, all genres of music, and anything with a Scottish Terrier on it. She prayed daily.
Kenlyn had a spring in her step, and was always whistling upbeat tunes. She wiggled her hips when she danced, her thumbs pointed upward, like Daisy Duck.
She was graceful, strong, and coordinated which lent to her advanced skill as an athlete. She was a golfer, a bowler, a swimmer, loved badminton, croquet, and ice skating. And true to her Scottish roots, Kenlyn was an intimidating archer with perfect aim.
Kenlyn was born in Chicago on April 6, 1941with eyes so blue they gave one pause. Surrounded by the love of her parents, Marie and Kenneth Gay, she grew up on Rosemear Avenue in the Hollywood neighborhood of Riverside.
A strong-willed and athletic spirit, Kenlyn embraced sports at Riverside-Brookfield High School, advocating for more opportunities for women in athletics. She excelled as a synchronized swimmer and served as the secretary of the Girls' Athletic Association.
Her journey continued at Parsons College in Iowa, where she met the love of her life, Lou Rini. After they wed in 1967, they moved to Lou’s hometown of Palos Heights, to be near the family business, Rini’s Pharmacy.
They had two children, Kenlynne and Kenny. She loved her home and was honored to receive the Palos Beautification Award for their flower filled yard. She supported her community and contributedto the development of Lake Katherine. She cherished her neighbors.
After graduating from Parsons in 1964, Kenlyn took her first teaching position at Morton West High School in Berwyn. Loyal as she was, she stayed there for her entire 37 year career, retiring in 2001.
Beyond “gym class,” Kenlyn taught Advanced Swimming for Lifesaving, Driver’s Education, and along with Jim Evans, she created an Adapted PE program for handicapped students. She introduced Bowling and Badminton, and liked coaching Softball and the Synchronized Swim Team. Her commitment to education inspired her to pursue a Master's Degree, a journey completed in 1988.
Her kindness extended to everyone she met, accentuating the positive and embracing hope for a better tomorrow. We all benefited from her unwavering support and belief in our abilities. She was enthusiastic and warm, sharing her easy smile and compassion with all.
She was the best listener and remembered every detail as if your life was the most important tale the world had ever known. And to her, it was. Her family and friends were her most treasured possession.
Kenlyn's passing leaves a void that will be deeply felt by her family, friends, and all who had the privilege of knowing her.
Beloved wife of Louis P. Rini.
Dear Mother of Kenlynne (Bill) Mulray & Kenny (Jamie) Rini.
Grandmother of Kenalina, WIll, Karsyn, Henley, Brynah & Payson.
Sister in Law of Maria (Bill) Roggenkamp & Hyllis (Frank) Rini.
Godmother of Anna (Marty) Rogers.