Ronald Kenyon Obituary

Ronald  D. Kenyon
Ronald D. Kenyon
Ronald D. Kenyon

July 13, 1918 - September 20, 2008
Born in Toledo, IA
Resided in Urbandale, IA
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Ronald D. Kenyon was born in Toledo, Iowa on July 13, 1918 to Clarence Enoch and Nellie Harriet Kenyon. Both of his parents died before he was nine and he was raised by his sister.

He graduated from Montour High School in 1936 and continued working on various farms as he had since he was a young boy. Seeing greater opportunity in construction, he started working for a paving company in Des Moines. When World War II broke out, he tried to enlist but his eyesight prevented military service. He married Margaret Quigley in December, 1939 and from that moment on, they worked side by side throughout their married lives. They had three daughters and today have four grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

Never a stranger to hard work, when Ronald learned that the company he was working for was to be sold, he started an ambitious campaign to buy it. From that effort came Ronald Kenyon Construction Co. and numerous related companies that he grew into extremely successful businesses. At the same time, never letting go of his love of the rich Iowa farmland, Ronald returned to farming and built thriving farming operations in various parts of Iowa.

Ronald's generous spirit and desire to help others inspired him through the years to be a benefactor of many educational and charitable endeavors both in Iowa and nationwide. Most recently, he took immense pride in his donation of a portion of the land for the new Iowa Veterans Cemetery at Van Meter.

In his leisure time, Ronald was an avid sports fan, in particular collegiate football and major league baseball (Chicago Cubs). He supported and loved the Iowa Hawkeyes and he and Margaret funded the Kenyon Practice Facility at the University of Iowa. He was also the first major contributor to the Jack Trice Stadium at Iowa State University. But his first passion was always his family to whom he leaves his great spirit, his sense of purpose and his strength.

Ronald was a lifelong resident of Iowa, spending over 60 years in the Des Moines area. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Des Moines. He was a 32nd Degree Mason, a member of the Za-Ga-Zig Temple, the Scottish Rite and was a charter member of the Iowa Scottish Rite Masonic Foundation Heritage Society. He was also a member of the Royal Order of Jesters, Des Moines Court 46.

Ronald was a charter member and past Chairman of the Board of the National Asphalt Paving Association and a charter member of the National Council of Asphalt Technology. He was an inductee into the Iowa Hot Mix Asphalt Hall of Fame, the National Hot Mix Asphalt Hall of Fame and the Association of General Contractors of Iowa Hall of Fame. An engineering scholarship at Iowa State University and endowments at Auburn University are named in his honor. He was also a member of the University of Iowa National I-Club and a proud contributor to the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation. He and Margaret contributed to ChildServe in Johnston, donating funds to establish the Sharon Kenyon Wing at ChildServe. He had served on the Board of Directors of Iowa Methodist Medical Center, Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, MA, Midwest Diabetes Foundation of Iowa and the Board of Trustees of Drake University.

Ronald, 90, passed away at his home on Saturday, September 20, 2008. Ronald is survived by his wife of 68 years, Margaret; daughters, Sandra (Jim) Grider of Louisville, KY and Rhonda (Derek) Hill of Clive, IA; grandchildren, Wendy (Joel) Johnson of West Des Moines, IA, Allison Brimmer of Davie, FL, Christopher (Jenny) John of Roanoke, VA, Schuyler (Christina) John of Louisville, KY; six great-grandchildren; and nephew, Richard Quigley of Chicago, IL. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Sharon Kenyon.

This verse, that Ronald kept at his desk, speaks volumes about how he tried to live:

Promise Yourself

Promise yourself to be so strong
that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
To look at the sunny side of everything
and make your optimism come true.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to
the greater achievements of the future.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that
you have no time to criticize others.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to First United Methodist Church, 1001 Pleasant St., Des Moines, IA 50309 or the Greater Iowa Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, 5444 N.W. 96th St., Suite A, Johnston, IA 50131.


Click here to view memorial folder




Westover Funeral Home
6337 Hickman Road
Des Moines, IA US 50322
Monday, September 22, 2008
4:00 PM - 7:00 PM
First United Methodist Church
1001 Pleasant
Des Moines, IA US 50309
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
2:00 PM