Robert Wilson Kennerly

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Robert Wilson Kennerly
Chairman Yuma County Board of Supervisors
In office
Councilman Yuma City Council
In office
Personal details
Born (1931-02-13)February 13, 1931
Detroit, MI
Religion Roman Catholic

Robert Wilson Kennerly, Yuma politician and community leader,[1][2] served on the Yuma City Council from 1962 to 1966, as Chairman of the Yuma County Board of Supervisors from 1976 to 1984, and on the Arizona Board of Pardons and Parole from 1984 to 1989.

Political Life: 1958-1989[edit]

In 1958, Kennerly entered Arizona politics by running for Precinct Committeeman in Phoenix's 31st District. He was elected and served a full term, becoming active in community organizations. In 1962, he was elected to the Yuma City Council,[3] and in 1966 he ran unsuccessfully for reelection. For the next ten years, he served actively on the District 4 Council of Governments. In 1976, Kennerly was elected as a Democrat to the Board of Supervisors in Yuma County's District 1,[4] which is a very diverse socio-economic district,[5] and he was reelected in 1980, serving as Chairman during both terms.[6] In 1984, Governor Babbitt appointed him to the Arizona Board of Pardons and Parole where he served until 1989.[7] Kennerly also served on the Commission on Appellate and Supreme Court Appointments for the State of Arizona[8] and as Self-Governance Coordinator/Planner and Director of Gaming for the Cocopah Indian Tribe,[9] instrumental in the development of an 18-hole golf course, a 500-unit RV park, a bingo hall, and a casino.[10]

Community Leader[edit]

As a community leader, Kennerly was one of the founders of the Southern Arizona Bank of Yuma, and he served on the Board of the Yuma County Chamber of Commerce.[11] He was the first President of Caballeros de Yuma[12][13] and served as the Publicity Director for the Yuma Chapter of the NAACP of which he is a lifetime member.[14] He was also a charter member and President of both the Sunrise Optimist Club and the Fort Yuma Rotary Club,[15] Board member of the Yuma Golf and Country Club,[16] and founder, charter President and long-time Board member of the Yuma Boys Club.[17]


Kennerly is the son of Samuel Wilson Kennerly of Harrington, Delaware, and Margaret Claire Kelly of North Attleborough, Massachusetts. In 1946, he moved to Arizona where, in 1948, he married Jeannette Wade. Together, they had four daughters, Robin, Kathryn, Carol and Bunny.


  1. ^ | WACOG recognizes leaders for service, Yuma Sun, Sept. 24, 2011.
  2. ^ American Biographical Encyclopedia, vol. V, at 256 (Paul W. Pollack ed. 1981)
  3. ^ | Mayor & Council: City of Yuma
  4. ^,2788703 | State's voters make county selections, Kingman Daily Miner, Nov. 3, 1976
  5. ^ | Yuma County, Supervisor District 1
  6. ^,2963365 | Officials ponder details of creating 15th county, Kingman Daily Miner, May 28, 1982
  7. ^ Arizona Board of Executive Clemency
  8. ^ | Commission on Appellate Court Appointments
  9. ^ | Tribal Success Stories
  10. ^ Cocopah Resort
  11. ^ | Yuma County Chamber of Commerce
  12. ^ | The Caballeros de Yuma
  13. ^ Memorial Award, The Yuma Daily Sun, Jan. 25, 1971 (Kennerly presents the first annual Dr. John Stanley Memorial trophy to Bill Buntin)
  14. ^ | Yuma Chapter of the NAACP
  15. ^ | Rotary Club of Fort Yuma
  16. ^ | Yuma Golf & Country Club
  17. ^ | Boys & Girls Club of Yuma

External links[edit]