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Katharine Howard Kernan

Utica, Oneida County, New York, USA
Death 1 Oct 2013 (aged 96)
Utica, Oneida County, New York, USA
Burial Utica, Oneida County, New York, USA
Memorial ID 124638525 · View Source
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Katharine Howard Kernan, 96, of Utica, died October 1, 2013 at her home.

She was born December 16, 1916 in Utica a daughter of the late David S. and Gertrude Howard. She was educated at the Utica Country Day School, the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry and graduated from Vassar College. She married William Kernan on April 26, 1941. He died in May of 1994.

Mrs. Kernan was instrumental in establishing the Utica Volunteer Reading Tutor Program. She received the inspiration for this program in the mid-1960's after she heard a sermon by Msgr. William Donovan, Pastor of Historic Old St. John's Church at the time. With the able assistance of Bernadette Eichler from the Utica School system, Mrs. Kernan along with Roberta Frank and Nettie Schwartz, women representing Catholic, Jewish and Protestant Faiths, the African-American community, and women who wanted to fight poverty in the community, started the tutoring program. The women reasoned that by building self-confidence in students, and helping them to do better in school that they would be fighting poverty and its effects in the community.

The program initially started in October 1969, with 36 volunteers who tutored students in reading on a one-to-one basis in the Brandegee, Potter, Miller and Kemble schools. The program has continued ever since and presently has over 100 volunteers in all 10 of Utica's elementary schools. Over 9, 364 children have been tutored by 3, 234 volunteers since 1969. In total, tutoring volunteers have given over 97, 085 hours of service to the Utica school system.

Mrs. Kernan retired as the Director of the Program, but she has remained the program's catalyst because it is so important for Utica's young people and the city's future.

She has received various professional recognitions including: Citation of Merit from the Utica City School District (1977), Phi Delta Kappa International –"Friend of Education Award" (2006), Genesis Group – Mohawk Valley Distinguished Service Award - "Education Hall of Fame" (2006), the East Utica Optimist Club-Hall of Fame, "Person of the Year" (2009), and the "Living Legend" award from the Oneida County Historical Society (2012).

Her additional community activities include serving as a Republican Committee Woman, Member of Anchor, Member of the Board of Visiting Nurse's Association, various positions with Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts, Founder and retired Director of the Utica Volunteer Reading Tutor Program.

In addition to her love for tutoring and reading to children, she enjoyed gardening, playing bridge, skiing, golfing, fishing, camping and boating.





  • Created by: NYGraver
  • Added: 4 Feb 2014
  • Find A Grave Memorial 124638525
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Katharine Howard Kernan (16 Dec 1916–1 Oct 2013), Find A Grave Memorial no. 124638525, citing Saint Agnes Cemetery, Utica, Oneida County, New York, USA ; Maintained by NYGraver (contributor 48334670) .