THLord Kenn the Just of the Barony of St. Swithin’s Bog passed away on October 7th of a brain tumor.
His Lordship was instrumental in establishing thrown weapons in St. Swithin’s Bog. He also participated in rapier combat and archery, for which he held the rank of Master Bowman. He was a recipient of both the Order of the Millrind for service and the Order of the White Horn for thrown weapons.
His wife, Lady Katerina de la Marne, known as Katya, said “Kenn and I were married for 30 years. He was quiet and had the patience of a Saint. He was wicked smart and a fantastic partner for trivia. Loved my girls as his own and was proud of each of their accomplishments. He was so incredibly proud of [his] grandsons, and would sit for hours to watch them at horse shows, football or baseball games.
Kenn devoted his life to children on the autistic spectrum, often working with a child from elementary school through aging out of the system.
Kenn treated me like a queen. I will forever be grateful for his love. He helped me through too many health scares over our 30 years. I had the honor of being by his side these last 14 weeks as he battled with glioblastoma. He was brave and valued quality of life over quantity.”
Lady Katya continued “Kenn never liked attention on what he did. He did it (teaching fencing archery or thrown weapons) because he enjoyed watching others learn. The look on the grandsons’ faces when they started to stick the axes in the target. And the first bullseye deserved a treat and a photo. Kenn was so extremely proud when we took the 2 eldest grandsons to War practice and Damian went over to get his bow inspected and then shoot without him . It was a moment of pride for both of them.”
Dame Caroline of Burgundy says ” I wouldn’t be where I am today without THL Kenn the Just.
Thirty years ago on a Sunday afternoon I happened to attend a medieval demonstration in the Shire of St. Swithin’s Bog. It was the last day of their annual Three Day Event and it was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. I was watching the fencing demonstration and Kenn handed me an epee and said, “I think you can do this”…. and I did, and it was the coolest thing I had ever done. I started going to regular practices & meetings and one day Kenn said, “I think you should become the Bog fencing marshal”…. and I did, and it was the most rewarding thing I had ever done. Kenn was an accomplished swordsman, an excellent teacher, and an inspiring friend. I owe my entire SCA career to a great man who said many times along my journey…. “You can do this”…. and I did.”
Mistress Rosheen o Faye, former Baroness of St. Swithin’s Bog, recalls, “THL Kenn the Just is the main reason I got into thrown weapons. I remember I attended a Baronial Champs held at Tower and Cynthia’s house. Kenn had the thrown weapons range set up and asked if I wanted to throw? I said no, since I never threw before and didn’t want to get in the way of those throwing for Champs. Kenn insisted. I threw a few practice throws and I did ok. He said I should throw for a Royal Round score. I’ll never forget that first score as long as I live. I got a 19/120. I thought I did terrible, but Kenn must have seen something in me.
For years after that day, a bunch of us would meet at Kenn and Katya’s house every Friday night for thrown weapons and archery practice. It was probably the most fun I’ve ever had in the SCA. We threw together, we grew together, we heckled one another, and we practiced. We even nicknamed ourselves the “Metal Flingers”. After practices, we would stick around and talk and laugh around the fire, or in the kitchen when it was too cold, or the weather didn’t cooperate.
Our hobby brings us together because we share a common purpose. We want to learn how to fight, or shoot archery, or throw or sew or brew. So we meet up with like-minded people to do the thing. If we’re lucky, sometimes those chosen things turn into something more. Kenn turned our weekly practices into something more. We would start planning vacations and outings and dinners together to NOT do the thing. Kenn was the reason friendships blossomed and grew. He was the center of that world for a really long time, and I can’t thank him enough for being the person we were all drawn to. I will miss him dearly.”
Master Ian Campbell said “When I joined the SCA in 1992 Kenn was one of the first persons I met. At the time he was still fencing and would graciously teach anyone who wanted to learn. Years later he turned his sights to archery and thrown weapons. His enthusiasm for thrown weapons led to the surge and prowess of Bog throwers. For years Kenn and Katya opened their home every Friday for archery and thrown weapons practices.
Kenn was one of the most honorable and just persons I have known. He was a patient and caring teacher in and out of the society. He will be sorely missed. Rest easy my friend, keep the bonfire lit. We’ll all be there in time.“
Donations to assist his family with medical bills can be made at Kenn’s GoFundMe.