Fare Thee Well, Ken Davenport

Ken Davenport

Many of people read the post on our ARSL listserv of Ken Davenport’s obituary.  I’m reposting it here, for those who may not have seen it with some additional information about Ken from my experiences with him in Second Life.  Ken Davenport helped found the Association for Rural & Small Libraries so his impact on rural and small librarianship we feel is profound.  Originally posted by Eunice Riesberg:

*Obituary: Kenneth (Ken) Marvin **Davenport WATERLOO — Kenneth (Ken) Marvin Davenport, 66, of Waterloo, died at the University of Iowa Hospitals on Tuesday, September 29, 2009 after a long illness. His body was cremated 
by the Cremation Society of Eastern, Central and Western Iowa. Kenneth Marvin Davenport was born February 18, 1943 in Harbor Beach, MI to Angus Marvin and Clarice Elaine (Dollman) Davenport. Ken graduated from high school in Tawas, Michigan. He attended Michigan State University where he earned a B. A. in Geography as well as a Master’s degree in Geography. He attended the University of Minnesota where he did postgraduate work in Library Science. He then attended Kent State University where he earned a Master of Library Science degree. Ken married Diane Carter in 1966; they were later divorced. He later met Patricia Dunfee; they married in 1996, but were together for many years before that. Ken worked as a library consultant for the Northeast Iowa Library Service Area from 1990 until his recent passing; he worked with approximately 85 libraries, many of them smaller libraries located in small towns of Northeast Iowa. Ken became an expert on library governance as well as E-Rate, a federal program that helps schools and libraries get internet access. He was a tireless advocate for libraries in Iowa, and was a regular participant at local Legislative Forums, where his beard, suspenders, and dry sense of humor were all appreciated. He was a great story teller, and even when he became very ill, posted notes on his Facebook page about his most recent exciting ride by helicopter to Iowa City. He was a long time member of the Iowa Library Association; he served on the Executive Board in the 1990s and was the long time Chair of the Credentials Committee for the 
annual conference. Ken was also a member of the Cedar Falls Supper Club. His interests included reading, geography, Renaissance festivals, Celtic culture, fine food, and spending time on his computer, corresponding with friends, blogging, and getting into Web 2.0. Ken was on Facebook and Twitter, and used them not only to socialize but further his causes/passions.  *Survived by:* his mother, Clarice Davenport of Lansing, MI; brothers: Grant of Salsa, Alaska, Bruce (Rose Mary) of Lansing, MI; and sister, Patricia (Jack) Kirk of Preston, Maryland. He is also survived by his sister-in-law Ann (Frank) Carraro of Ottawa, Illinois; 16 nieces and nephews; and by many dear friends from the Iowa Library system.  *Preceded** in death by:* his wife, Patricia (Pat) Ann (Dunfee) Davenport on January 20, 2008 and his father, Marvin Davenport on May 24, 1983.  Ken’s body was cremated, but his spirit lives on. A celebration of his life is planned for Friday, October 16 at the Waverly Public Library. Friends wanting to contribute to a memorial fund are asked to do so in Ken’s name at small public libraries in their area.  Sympathy cards to Ken Davenport’s family may be sent to his office, and will be shared with his family.

In the words of Bernard Vavrek, another founder for ARSL, “Ken helped to define and nurture the rural library movement.  As the first president of ARSL, his historical impact is assured.  But he assumed other significant roles that went beyond his home state.  Ken’s wit and insight could always be counted on despite his personal medical issues.  His physical presence will be missed.  But don’t be surprised if you see his spirit attending the next library meeting.”

That sums is up so perfectly, it’s hard to improve upon it for sure.  There were many who wrote to share their experiences and express regret.  Take time to do a search of the ARSL listserv archives to see the wonderful contributions that Ken offered throughout the years.

The photo that you see is of Ken’s memorial created in Second Life by Steve Eyler, our webmaster and Second Life consultant/volunteer and me.  It features memorial candles, flowers, and a picture outside of the ARSL Second Life building.  In SL, he was Brother Homewood and he often attended events, sent words of encouragement and helped programming, and was a big supporter of virtual worlds.  He is missed by persons who participate in Second Life as well.

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