Patricia Joan Kenney, age 91, of Plainsboro, New Jersey, passed away on Sunday, March 6th in her home. She was born on July 8th, 1930, in Brooklyn, NY, daughter of the late William H. Kenney and Fern Eleanor Newburg Kenney. She grew up and graduated from Teaneck High School in Teaneck, NJ.
She was the ex-wife of the late Professor John G. Taylor of London, UK, and previously resided in Oxford, UK, while raising her four children. She was the loving mother of Geoffrey Taylor (Xanthe Sturt Taylor) of Yarnton, Kidlington, UK, Frances Taylor (Keith Costa) of Madison, CT, Robin Taylor of Plainsboro, NJ and Susan Taylor (Zane Shellenbarger) of Ewing, NJ. She was the very proud grandmother of Imogen Taylor, Matthew Taylor, Ryan Costa, Emily Costa, Caitlin Costa, Nicole Shellenbarger and Daniel Shellenbarger.
She is also survived by her brother William W. Kenney (Peggy Kenney) of Plymouth, MA, whom she adored as her special “little brother.” She was predeceased by her older sister Frances Fay Hanson of Hamden, CT. She was also known as “Aunt Pat” to her nephew Trevor Hanson and her nieces Lesley Hanson, Stephanie Thorne and Stacy Ashton. She was the great Aunt Pat to Robert Hanson, Nola Thorne, Sienna Thorne, Alexis Ashton, Luke Ashton and Kate Ashton.
Pat was passionate about life from a young age. She wrote, directed, produced and acted in middle school plays. She became President of the student council in ninth Grade. She also was a cheerleader and was selected as one of four candidates for the Prom queen of Teaneck High School. She continued her love of the dramatic arts with John when they co-wrote and were leading actors in plays that were performed both at Princeton University and Cambridge University.
Pat was always a keen academic student. She had begun her BA studies at Columbia University in NYC, majoring in philosophy. In 1975 she obtained a Certificate of Studies in Counseling from the University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education as well as an extension course at London University. In 1976 she was accepted to St. Anne’s College, Oxford University; graduating in 1979 with a MA in Experimental Psychology (the same year as her divorce was granted). She also was active as a Samaritan (suicide counselor) in Oxford. After returning to the USA, she pursued a PhD in Clinical Psychology at the New School in NYC. In her later years she even taught a psychology course on the MInd at the Princeton Senior Resource Center in Princeton!
Pat was very sociable and always loved a good party! During her married life in Princeton, while Professor John G.Taylor taught at the Institute for Advanced Studies, she organized parties known locally as ‘Pat’s Friday Night Soirées,’ which were THE place to be! She was a brilliant conversationalist, intellectually curious, and always loved to laugh. Her friends always said how much fun Pat was to be with, full of life and personality and such a sweet person.
Music was always a part of Pat’s life, since her mother had been a concert pianist and loved classical music (listening and composing). She even wrote songs about each grandchild capturing their unique spirit. Her composition “ The Rose” has become a family standard. She read a vast array of topics within the field of psychology and some philosophy while keeping current and involved with politics and the news. She was also a passionate tennis fan, watching all the tournaments (both major and minor) and especially would always follow her favorite tennis player, Rafael Nadal.
Above all, Pat loved her family and being a mother. She created a wonderful home and life in Oxford, England for her four children whom she loved dearly. She cherished the idyllic world of parks, beautiful English flowers, punting on the River Cherwell, classical music and the British culture where she would raise her children. Her children look back with great fondness on their childhood. Additionally, she always had amazing childhood stories to share about her wonderful uncles back in the United States who made life there seem so exciting and fun. She spoke about the great snow storms that were so foreign to her children in England which captured their imaginations.
She was also greatly proud of her Swedish background and quite often lived up to her very Irish Kenney spirit! She would always stand up for the underdog and even fought with her fists as a young girl to stand up for a child who was being bullied at the time. She was a force to be reckoned with and loved by all who knew her.
Pat’s family, in particular, her son, Robin, her caregiver, would like to extend heartfelt thanks and gratitude to all their close friends, work colleagues and extended family members. In particular they would like to thank Penn Medicine Home Care and Hospice team members for all their critical help and wonderful support over the last couple of years during her period of declining health.
All Funeral Services will be private and at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to support the Humanitarian Crisis in the Ukraine at doctorswithoutborders.org.
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