SISTER MARION IRVINE, O. P.
Sister Marion is committed to serving others by raising social consciousness, primarily through teaching, administration and example. In 1949, she began her vocation as a Roman Catholic nun and taught third-graders at St. Raphael Elementary School in San Rafael. For 50 years, Sister Marion held eleven different positions in education in Marin, Vallejo, Monterey, Stockton, San Francisco, Napa and Santa Rosa, including serving as Assistant Superintendent of Schools.
Shifting her focus from education to commitment and social activism, she holds the title of "Promoter of Peace, Justice and the Care of Creation" and works tirelessly with others to: ban capital punishment, protect the environment, provide affordable housing, improve education and to further other social justice issues.
In 2003, Sister Marion led the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael to take a stance against pre-emptive strikes in Iraq, and she continues to work and pray for peace in all global conflicts. She is against the death penalty, and along with members of the community, has held a vigil at San Quentin at each execution. She has collaborated with others to address issues relating to human trafficking, worked to create safe houses or to provide additional support services, and protested during the ICE raids in 2007.
Sister Marion has served as Secretary, Vice-President and President with the Marin Interfaith Council to address not only the death penalty but also affordable housing issues and immigration injustices. At MIC, Sister Marion works with Protestant Christians, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Sufi and many other religious leaders, for the purpose of justice, equity, excellence, equal opportunity and respect for all.
She is also an athlete and began running at 48 years old. Her fellow Sisters have become her cheering squad. Sister Marion experienced her own human limitations while running which helped to deepen her compassion taking her to new heights in more than the running world, inspiring her to reach out beyond education to a role of social activism.
Sister Marion ran competitively for 15 years and was the oldest woman ever to qualify for the Olympic trials in long-distance running in 1983. This event earned her a sponsorship by Nike and a place in the Road Runners Club of the American Hall of Fame.
As Sister Marion approaches her 80th birthday, she continues to model leadership that is founded upon compassion, humor, perseverance and social justice. She has received the Marin County Human Rights Commission’s Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award and Dominican University’s Athletic Hall of Fame recognition. Marin Women’s Hall of Fame joyfully welcomes her for her humanitarian efforts, leadership for social justice and dedication to education on so many levels.
TV journalism is synonymous with the name Cheryl Jennings. Behind
the success is her heart, evident in her extensive service to the
community of Marin and beyond.
Jennings began her career at KNBR radio
in 1974. Moving to K101, she became the station’s first ever
female news director and the second female news director in the
Bay market. She began working at KPIX TV while still on the radio!
In 1979 she moved to KGO and rose from general assignment reporter
to co-anchor to anchor. She also files special reports and hosts
Beyond the Headlines, a community affairs program.
Cheryl pioneered in reporting on children’s
issues, women’s rights and domestic violence, for which she’s
been recognized locally and nationally. In 1998, Cheryl won an Emmy
for a show on caring for aging parents and in 1996, another for
a report on a camp for children with AIDS, and a third Emmy for
a segment of the program Straight Talk N’ Teens—hosted
by teens she trained and mentored.
In 2002, Cheryl received the Gracie Allen
Award for “superior quality and stellar portrayal of the changing
roles and concerns of women” for Behind Bars: Battered Women
Who Kill Their Abusers. The program profiled women serving life
terms for killing their abusive partners before the “battered
woman’s syndrome” law was passed.
Jennings won another Emmy in 2005 for Beyond
the Headlines, a program on youth and steroids featuring 49er Coach
Bill Walsh. In 2004, The American Women in Radio and Television
honored Cheryl with its KUDO Award for Best TV Public Affairs Program,
Sunday on Seven. In 2007 Marin’s Search for the Cause against
breast cancer included Cheryl in its “100 Magnificent Marin
Cheryl also went to Kosovo twice. Her six-part
series on the children of Kosovo earned her an Emmy nomination.
In 2003, Cheryl co-founded “Pennies for Peace,” a campaign
to help mend the ravages of war. “Pennies,” an offshoot
of the Marin-based Roots of Peace, invites children to donate their
change to help de-mine the playgrounds, soccer fields and schools
in Afghanistan. Jennings reported on it from Afghanistan in 2005.
This unique child-centered peace program was honored by former U.N.
Secretary General Kofi Annan. San Rafael also recognized her work
for the Roots of Peace Penny Campaign by declaring a “Cheryl
Jennings Day” in April 2007.
The Marin Women’s Hall of Fame is
honored to include Cheryl Jennings among its members.
When Marguerita Johnson graduated with a Master's in Education in
the 1930's there were few teaching positions in the North for an African-American
woman. When she was able to find work in her home state of Illinois.
she moved to Florida and taught in a one room school house until the
advent of the Second World War. There she became extremely active
in church and civic affairs, primarily in the area of civil rights
and, with her husband, raised five children, in addition to working
At age 56, Ms. Johnson "retired"
and moved to California. She entered U.C. Berkeley and obtained
a Master's Degree in Library Science. She found work in Marin
and gravitated to Marin City to get closer to her church and the African-American
community. Ms. Johnson quickly became a leader, serving on both
the Marin City Community Service District Board and the Community
Development Corporation Board. Ms. Johnson served nine years
on the Marin County Commission on Aging, including two years as its
chairperson. She was instrumental in developing the Village
Oduduwa Senior Housing development which provided low-income housing
for the elderly. She also helped establish what is now known
as the Marguerita Johnson Senior Center.
PAULA FRESCHI KAMENA
The first woman elected District Attorney in the history of Marin County, Paula Freschi Kamena, demonstrated in so many ways her desire to make a difference for others. As a successful prosecutor, Paula made sure that those who needed treatment in lieu of prosecution received it. She stressed prevention and protection, not just prosecution as a solution, creating a new template for the County.
As a former juvenile probation officer who interviewed child victims of sexual abuse, Paula garnered the support of the Chiefs of Police, other County leaders and Soroptimist of Marin to raise funds to help establish the Jeannette Prandi Children’s Center. At this state-of-the-art center, children who have been sexually assaulted must no longer endure the terrifying experience of multiple interviews by multiple people and agencies. This method has proven to reduce trauma to the child and to help begin the healing process for more than 500 children to date.
As an active member in the Soroptimist Club, Paula spearheaded fund-raising efforts during her membership and leadership in the club, raising nearly $200,000, all of which has gone to support programs focusing on women and girls.
Paula’s perseverance and vision has improved the criminal justice system in Marin. She was the founding member of the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), Adult Drug Court, Juvenile Drug Court, Mental Health Court, California Community Partnership for the Prevention of Financial Elder Abuse, Marin City Fatherhood Program, Share the Road Bicycle campaign, North Bay High Tech Task Force to fight computer crime. Before Paula, none of these programs existed in Marin.
She served as the first woman president of the Marin County Police Chiefs Association, Commissioner on the California State Council on Mentally Ill Offenders and as a board member on the California District Attorney’s Association.
"Can we do this better?" Paula advocates raising social consciousness, with an emphasis on the advancement of women’s rights and promotion of opportunities for women and girls. Since Paula joined The Soroptimist Club, more emphasis has been placed on Domestic Violence. More programs and speakers reach a greater number of women, particularly since the domestic violence symposium which Paula created caused a far-reaching "ripple" effect among other Soroptimist Clubs. Many victims have reported that the video-taped coverage of this event shown on local channels has saved their lives.
For these efforts and others, Paula has been honored by receiving the Soroptimist Club’s Women of Distinction Award. For Public Affairs: the Marin Women’s Hall of Fame welcomes Paula Freschi Kamena, motivator of change and advocate for women and girls.
HON. JOYCE LUTHER KENNARD
Joyce Luther Kennard's journey through life has been remarkable:
from early childhood spent in an internment camp in West Java during
World War II; to preadolescence spent in the jungles of New
Guinea with her widowed mother and four other families in a small
Quonset hut with no running water; to an American immigrant;
and to a California Supreme Court Justice. In April 1989, Governor
Deukmejian appointed Kennard to the California Supreme Court, making
her the second woman and the first individual of Eurasian descent
(Dutch-Indonesian-Chinese) to serve as a justice on the state high
court. She has been re-elected twice.
Kennard's early education had been limited
and all schooling ended shortly before her 16th birthday when an infection
resulted in the amputation of her right leg. At age 20, Kennard
immigrated to America where she worked as a secretary in Los Angeles.
Seven years later, her mother died in Holland leaving Kennard her
life savings of $5,000. She enrolled in college, and finished
in three years, while working part time. She graduated magna
cum laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Kennard then attended
law school at the University of Southern California and, simultaneously,
obtained a Master's in Public Administration, receiving the school's
"Outstanding Thesis" award.
Kennard is a frequent dissenter on the state
high court where her opinions reflect a fierce independence.
She has been described as a "judge's judge," an apolitical
purist. She has received numerous honors and awards.
Read the extended biography by Nancy Smith Harris
Anne T. Kent devoted her life to serving and enriching the Marin community
through her enthusiastic interest and energetic participation in a
variety of activities. She showed her love of the environment
by donating half of Kent Island in Bolinas Lagoon to the Nature Conservancy
as a wildlife refuge. A woman who loved being outdoors, she
further demonstrated her environmental commitment as a founding member
of the Marin Art and Garden Center, the Marin Conservation League
and the Marin Garden Club. She also had an active, long-term
involvement with the National Audubon Society, California Botanical
Society and the Save the Redwoods League.
Anne Kent, who attended "librarianship
school" in 1920, showed her love of reading and learning through
her "generous and warm-hearted" leadership in the establishment
of the Marin County Library System in the 1920's. She later
initiated and managed an extensive oral history project focusing on
Marin's earlier years, interviewing, with her partner, over two hundred
and twenty-five "old-time" Marinites. She was also
an active member of the Marin County Historical Society, the California
Historical Society and the Friends of the Library. The Civic
Center Library Branch houses a special room devoted to California
and Marin history. It is named "The Anne T. Kent Room" in
recognition of her many civic contributions.
ELIZABETH THACHER KENT
Social Change (posthumans)
Elizabeth Thacher Kent, a matriarch in the founding family of Kentfield,
is one of the few Marin County women to be elected posthumously to
the Marin Women's Hall of Fame. Kent was a distinguished proponent
of women's rights and international peace and was instrumental in
securing women's right to vote.
Kent took up permanent residence in Marin
in 1907 and immediately became a vocal activist in support of women's'
suffrage. When her husband, William, was elected to the U.S.
House of Representatives, Kent leveraged her position as a Congressman's
wife to support the national suffrage movement. She was a featured
speaker at the 1913 and 1914 conventions of the National American
Women's Suffrage Association (NAWSA) and shortly thereafter assumed
leadership of their Congressional Committee. By 1915, she helped
form the Congressional Union (later re-named the Women's Party), which
picketed the White House in support of suffrage. Kent was arrested
twice for her suffrage demonstrating. However, her cause prevailed
and in August 1920 the Susan B. Anthony Amendment to the United States
Constitution was passed guaranteeing American women the right to vote.
In addition to supporting suffrage, Elizabeth
Kent was committed to the cause of world peace. In the 1930's,
she provided leadership to the Women's International League for Peace
and Freedom. She and her husband were also early supporters
of the fledging conservation movement. They donated a large
tract of land to the U.S. Government to preserve old-growth redwoods.
Their gift, the Muir Woods National Monument, provides a lasting testimony
to the Kents' exemplary lives of public service.
Read the extended biography by Nancy Smith Harris
Remmy Kingsley remembers the moment, years ago, when she spotted a
mushroom growing through the macadam in her driveway. "I was awed, “ she
says. “Right then I saw the power of nature." That moment set the
stage for a lifetime of environmental activism.
Born Rembert Brimm 87 years ago in Providence, R.I., Remmy’s
early responsibilities when her mother was ill, created the woman she
was to become – an activist and champion not only of the human condition
but also of the environment and how we connect together.
In the 1970’s, Remmy was a pioneer in environmental education,
helping to form Marin County's Environmental Forum and leading her own
organization, Natural Science Education Resources (NSER), which
trained docents for Audubon Canyon Ranch and designed classes for
teachers and students - among them a training program showing Mill
Valley teachers how to teach ecology in the schoolyard- funded by a
grant from the National Science Foundation. She taught schoolchildren
about the interconnectedness of plants and animals in classes at the
Richardson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary in Tiburon.
She holds a degree in Chemistry from Cornell University and one in Environmental Ecology from San Francisco State.
She and three other female environmentalists founded their own
company, Madrone Associates, to furnish environmental impact reports for
developing companies, a new necessity in a nature conscious world. One
such report was for the Larkspur Ferry Terminal.
In 1944,after graduating from Cornell University with a degree in
Chemistry, and while working for the National Defense Research
Committee in Washington, D.C., she met her future husband, Paul
Kingsley, also a chemist. The two moved to Ross, their present home, in
1962. They have two children, Bruce, an anesthesiologist in Phoenix,
father of a boy and girl, and Judy, a management consultant and mother
of twin sons.
In 1993 she produced a standing room only conference at the College of Marin honoring the spirit of older women.
In 2008 Remmy was honored as one of the Magnificent Women of
Marin by Search for the Cause, an organization dedicated to identifying
environmental risk factors for cancer in Marin County.
Today, Remmy leads an older women's drumming group, the Druid
Drummers. The group meets weekly at her home in Ross and occasionally
performs for groups such as Wind Chimes, an Alzheimer facility.
Remmy Kingsley began with the environmental movement that swept
the nation in the 70's and 80's and influences our lives every day and
remains committed to protecting the environment.
Fifth generation Marin native Heidi Kuhn, the founder of the
internationally acclaimed "Roots of Peace" foundation,
lives, works, and breathes the motto, "Think globally, act
locally." She attributes her international perspective to
her experience as a high school exchange student in Japan.
From that point she was truly a child of the world.
International events have always been the focus of Heidi's
life. After graduating from UC Berkeley in 1979, she worked in
international business management. When the family moved to
Alaska, Heidi started her own media company in 1989. soon she
was providing firsthand news about the Exxon Valdez oil spill and
more to CNN, CBS, NBC and all the three-letter media giants.
The Kuhns returned to San Francisco and Heidi worked as a reporter
and producer for CNN. Soon after Princess Diana died in 1997,
Heidi hosted a UN Land Mines Awareness reception. She offered
a toast in hope that the world would move from land "mines to
vines." With that toast, Roots of Peace was born.
Heidi has a talent for bringing diverse potential partners
together. Along with 450 California wineries, she has enlisted
many other businesses and supporters ranging from the San Rafael and
Croatian Rotary Clubs to the US State Department and the Canadian
government. Roots of Peace's first demine-and-replant project
now serves as a model for similar projects from Afghanistan to
Family and mentoring also figure prominently in Heidi's life.
As a cancer survivor, she lives each day as a gift. She
instills her global perspective in her four children by taking them
on working trips to Washington, DC, Croatia, and other far away
places so they can see their mother "doing" diplomacy
firsthand. It's no surprise that they've begun duplicating her
example. What better lesson could they learn than to know that
one person's actions can truly change the world?