Official Obituary of

Donald “Rick” Kenyon

March 3, 1946 ~ February 21, 2024 (age 77) 77 Years Old

Donald Kenyon Obituary

With heavy hearts, we bid farewell to a remarkable soul whose kindness, compassion, and humor touched the lives of all who had the privilege of knowing him. Donald 'Rick' Kenyon passed away peacefully at his home in Pulaski, NY, on February 21, 2024, leaving behind a legacy that will forever inspire those fortunate enough to know him.

Born on March 3, 1946, in Oswego, New York, Rick was the son of the late Margaret and Tex Kenyon. With a mission to help others and bring joy to the world, Rick dedicated his life to spreading love and goodwill to everyone he encountered. His acts of kindness knew no bounds; he overfed the birds, braked for squirrels in the road, paid restaurant bills for others, picked up the homeless and drove them to their destinations, and developed the self confidence and trust of countless kids in his teaching and coaching career. He loved deeply.

Whether it was lending a listening ear, offering a helping hand, or simply sharing a warm smile, Rick had an innate ability to make others feel seen, heard, and valued. His selflessness knew no limits, and he approached every interaction with sincerity and empathy, leaving behind a trail of hope and positivity in all he touched.

After graduating from Liverpool High School in 1965, he attended Indiana University. In 1969, he started teaching in the Central Square School District. Rick was an unconventional teacher whose teaching style was far ahead of its time. To the delight of many children, he didn't like playing by the traditional rules of education. If he were on time for his own class to begin (being a few minutes tardy was his trademark), his feet would be kicked up on the desk, music blaring, and not a textbook open. You may even find students doing handstands along the wall. But his messages were impactful and clear, and he never failed a student.

Rick was the founder and co-owner of Central Square Gymnastics Center. He taught gymnastics, but to Rick, he was teaching kids about being excellent in life. He believed that children were already the best that they could be, and his job was to increase their passion for what they did. He was loyal to every child who had the privilege of learning from him. When he was unable to continue coaching, he carefully selected another kind and compassionate soul, Sonya, who continues to carry on his spirit at the gym.

Rick teamed up with a dear friend, Phyllis, in 2021 to write the book, The Tiptoe Elephant. The book's message was about taking care of those around you, practicing kindness and spreading that message to all. He was proud to read his book to children and adults. 

But Rick's proudest and biggest accomplishment of his lifetime were his two girls. He adored them, and his message was always simple. He would tell them, 'Wherever you are, if you're happy, I'm happy'. He'd send them the printed words to Imagine by John Lennon at Christmas time and gift them his favorite books with his thoughts inscribed within. He was always their biggest safety net should they stumble but encouraged them to go see the world. His love was deep, and every message ended with 'Be happy, be safe.'

Rick will be missed dearly by all who knew him, but his legacy of kindness and compassion will live on through his family. Rick is survived by his wife, Sharon, who gave him his best care and love until his passing; his former wife, Dotty Kenyon of Sarasota, FL; daughters Jaime (Matt) McAlear of Bloomfield Hills, MI, and Chennin (Russ) Carlson of Roswell, GA; four amazing grandchildren Wills, Maxton, Noxon and Piper; his brother Mike (Sue) Kenyon of Ransomville, NY; his sister, JoAnne Ross of Myrtle Beach, SC; and his sweet cat Simon and dog Garfunkel, both who never left his side.

In typical Rick fashion, he continues to give back and donated his body to medical research. The family will be hosting a celebration of life at a future date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Alzheimer's Association or Mary Nelson's Youth Center, locally based in Syracuse, NY, whose mission is to reduce violence in her neighborhood and provide school supplies to those less fortunate. His preferred method of giving back, however, is through acts of kindness; smile at a stranger, leave a sticky note for the waitress, hold that door open behind you, check on a neighbor or pop a handwritten note in the mail. He would also ask that you honor him by looking at the beauty of each tree in its own elements, taking a breath, and just be you.

Rest in peace, Rick. Your gentle spirit, unwavering kindness, and radiant light will continue to shine brightly through the love you shared with the world.

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