Kenreck Estate Gift to SIC Will Benefit Hardin County Students

May 12, 2014

A recent estate gift will provide scholarships to Hardin County High School graduates planning to attend Southeastern Illinois College. According to Tammy Oxford, the estate’s administrator, the first two scholarships for full tuition and fees will be presented during the high school’s award ceremony on May 23.

The donation is from the estate of James J. and Veldene A. Kenreck.  Oxford, who is the late couple’s niece, said that the Kenrecks wanted to establish a scholarship fund to help students from Hardin County get a college education.

Jim Kenreck was raised in the Karbers Ridge area in Hardin County by his parents George and Marie Ozee Kenreck and graduated from Cave-In-Rock High School in 1953. He was a master sergeant in the U.S. Air Force and was trained on the assembly and disassembly of the Minute Man Missile. When Kenreck retired from the military, he was hired by the Civil Service to teach new Air Force cadets the particulars of the missile program.

Veldene Kenreck was born and raised in the Mt. Zion Church area in rural Hardin County by parents Rev. Arthur Austin, Sr. and Verdna Barnard Austin and graduated from Cave-In-Rock High School in 1954. She later graduated from Chicago School of Cosmetology. A sister, Faye Oxford, and brother, Arthur Austin, Jr., still reside in the Cave-In-Rock area.

Soon after their marriage, the Kenrecks started their journey in life together in the military. They were unable to have children of their own, so they spoiled their niece and nephews. Upon their deaths, Jim in 2002 and Veldene in 2012, a percentage of their estate was given to SIC to establish the scholarship fund in their memory.

“The gift from the Kenreck estate stands as a wonderful act of generosity from people who simply want to help our students,” said SIC President Dr. Jonah Rice.  “The Kenreck Scholarship is both welcomed and very much appreciated.”

“This estate gift is the kind of giving that will help generations, and it is the kind of giving that we hope others will consider—giving to help students who want to learn and succeed at Southeastern Illinois College,” Rice added.