Hearts Love 01

Betty Kenyon

July 8, 1933 ~ October 17, 2021 (age 88)


Betty J. Knight Kenyon, age 88, of Destin, Florida, passed away on Sunday, October 17th, after a courageous battle with Alzheimer’s.  Betty was born July 8, 1933, in Washington, PA to Earl and Mary Knight.  Betty was a 1951 graduate of Southside High School in Pittsburgh, PA; she often returned for her high school reunions, and to visit family.  Betty began her career as a WAF (Women in the Air Force), where she met her former husband and was blessed with six children in 9 ½ years.

She was preceded in death by her former husband, Lt. Col. Charles A. Kenyon, Jr., her son, Charles A. Kenyon III, her brothers Earl Knight Jr. and Robert Knight, and grandsons Stephen Whitehead and Brad Nicely.

As a military family, Betty was a dutiful officer’s wife and mother, moving to various assignments; including Mather AFB, Howard AFB, Hurlburt Field, and Eglin AFB, Fort Leavenworth, and Langley AFB.   These many assignments brought the family to Fort Walton Beach in both the early 1960s and 1970s, where she developed a love for Destin.

Betty is survived by daughters Mary E. Kenyon, Joy K. Robbins (Larry), Grace E. Kenyon, Lisa K. Dessoffy, and son Douglas R. Kenyon.  Betty is also survived by grandchildren Chuck Bower, Amber Tomaszewski, Krystle and Jason Klosterman, Kenny Whitehead, Phillip and Lauren Dessoffy, great-grandchildren Nicholai Tomaszewski, Colton, and Callie Tippin, Tyler Dessoffy, and Marilyn Klosterman; her brother Ronald Knight (Marlene), and numerous nieces and nephews.

Betty’s musical talents graced many choirs and community theaters, including performances in Music Man, South Pacific, Annie Get Your Gun, and Candide.  Betty loved sailing the Chesapeake Bay.  As a member of the Langley Yacht Club, she rose to the position of Rear Commodore in the late 1970s. 

Betty’s sense of civic duty carried her to Vice-Chair of the Northwest Florida Democratic Party, various Destin City Council committees, earning her a proclamation from the City of Destin.  Betty was extremely proud of her early career in the Air Force and attended the dedication of the Women in Military Service Memorial in Arlington, VA in October 1997.

Betty achieved her college degree after ten years of night school with a degree in Human Resources Management at the University of Maryland.  She went on to serve as Human Resources Manager for AAFES, Army and Air Force Exchange Service, with assignments in Virginia, Maryland, Puerto Rico, Guam, and Nellis Air Force Base, from where she retired and moved back to Destin, Florida. 

After retirement, Betty traveled extensively to visit her children and grandchildren.  She also traveled to Italy several times-visiting the birthplace of her mother in Bovino, Italy in the province of Foggia; also visiting Spain and Scotland with family. 

As a second-generation Italian immigrant, Betty proudly served as Treasurer and Scholarship Chairperson, Sons of Italy, Fort Walton Beach, FL.  She expanded the scholarship program to all six high schools in Okaloosa County.  Betty most enjoyed Pasta Night at the Lodge with family and friends.

The family would like to thank Emerald Coast Hospice and the many caregivers who cared for our mother for the past several years. 

The family will receive friends 5-7 pm, Thursday, October 28, 2021, at McLaughlin Mortuary, 17 Chestnut Avenue SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL. 

A funeral mass will be held at 11 am on Friday, October 29, 2021, at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Destin.  A viewing will be held at 10:30 am prior to the mass.  Burial will follow at the Destin Memorial Cemetery, 120 Siebert Avenue, Destin.

Family and friends are welcome to celebrate Betty’s life at a reception afterward at Corpus Christi Parish Hall.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Betty Kenyon, please visit our floral store.


October 28, 2021

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
McLaughlin Mortuary
17 Chestnut Avenue SE
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548

Funeral Service
October 29, 2021

11:00 AM
Corpus Christi Catholic Church

Destin, FL

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