Tuesday, July 24, 2012

San Antonio PRSA Loses PR Giant, Charlie Kenworthey, APR, Fellow PRSA

Charlie with his wife, Dottie.
With the sad news of Charlie’s passing on Sunday, I’ve been reflecting on his wonderful contributions to our chapter, to the public relations profession and to me personally. What follows is adapted from a profile that our chapter published in 2005 on Charlie’s 80th birthday. (Please let us know if you’re the original author.) Information about his memorial service is online with his obituary in the San Antonio Express-News with an online guestbook.

Charles Kenworthey, APR, Fellow PRSA, reached many milestones both in years and accomplishments that few others have or ever will. He was one of the San Antonio PRSA chapter’s most active and valuable members.

2005 marked Charlie’s 40th anniversary as a member of PRSA. And, nationally, he was one of only 130 members with that much active longevity in the organization. Locally, he served on the San Antonio Chapter’s board of directors as ombudsman into his 80s, lending his wide-ranging knowledge and expertise to solving problems for PRSA members. He brought a unique historic perspective to board discussions and helped guide strategy and decision-making on a regular basis.
As the first-ever winner of the Chapter’s Del Oro Tex Taylor Lifetime Achievement Award, Charlie was recognized for pioneering the profession of public relations in many of the San Antonio organizations in which he has served. His professional achievements include:
  • PR director, National Bank of Commerce
  • PR director, St. Mary’s University
  • VP of Communications for the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce
  • Executive director of PR for USAA
  • Manager of the San Antonio office of Hill & Knowlton
  • President of BSM Consultants, Inc.
  • Commander of a Naval Reserve Public Affairs unit
  • Executive director of the Texas Public Relations Association
  • Twice president of San Antonio PRSA Chapter, 1971 and 1979
  • Elected to the PRSA College of Fellows
In addition to his professional career, Charlie amassed an incredible record of public service, using his public relations expertise to help others. For example, he helped raise millions of dollars for Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital. His fundraising skills resulted in the construction of a modern treatment center for people with cerebral palsy.

As a mentor, Charlie’s sound advice, encouragement and good humor probably benefited hundreds of PR professionals over the years. He served on the chapter’s board of directors since before written records exist, and his latest title of PRSA ombudsman was created especially to enable his continued official involvement in chapter affairs. In addition to mentoring, Charlie was a staunch defender of the public relations profession against adverse treatment in the news media.

Through hard work, outstanding standards of honesty and integrity over more than 40 years of professional and public service, Charles Kenworthey stood as a model for all PR professionals.

Thank you for everything Charlie. Rest in peace our friend, mentor, leader and inspiration.

Update: The San Antonio Express-News published a story today (July 25, 2012).


Anonymous said...

He was a grant mentor and was Mr. PR for many of us "growing up" in that world during the 70s and 80s. He will be missed.

Anonymous said...

A true gentleman and communications professional, Charlie's humor and kindness will be missed.

Jason Brown @ San Antonio Wedding Photographer said...

He will be missed and was a great man. My he rest in peace...