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Central Says Goodbye to Miss Camille

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 By Mia Freneaux

    Camille Carpenter Kennard was known by just about everyone in Central for her quick wit and generous heart.  Opening her home to just about everyone she met for many years, she became like a mother and grandmother to hundreds.  Her granddaughter Stacie Doucet had a few thoughts to share about her remarkable grandmother.  “She was just a character.  She always had a pot of coffee and a fresh-baked cake or pie.  If you went to her home, she was going to feed you.”  Rep. Clif Richardson had similar fond memories.  “Almost every day for 17 years I would eat breakfast at her house.  She and (her husband) Mr. Sterling started the Legislative Lunch with the idea of giving out of town legislators a home cooked meal.  It started out with 6 or 7 people Donald Ray would invite over, and grew to her heading it up with 5 or 600 people there. “  Stacie remembered, “All the legislators and governors looked so forward to it.  They never missed Miss Camille’s luncheon.”  Stacie remembered how folks would come to Miss Camille and Mr. Sterling for advice.  “Many political careers began in their kitchen,” she said.  Miss Camille was also known for her kindness.  “She had friends of all ages that would drop in to see her and chat with her and share their joys and sorrows,” Stacie shared.  Rep. Richardson said, “When someone was sick, she would be the first to volunteer to take them to the doctor.  She always wanted to be a background player.  She was not in it for the glory but for the good it would do.” Builder Ken Montgomery, who, in his words, “practically lived there when I was a kid”, shared how she was “so good to a lot of people.  She was a fine person who tried to help everyone.” 

    Stacie shared how Miss Camille was not afraid to tell people her opinion.  She wanted to follow the family tradition and drive a school bus.  Her father Maurice Carpenter drove one of the horse drawn wagons that served as Central’s student transportation in the early days.  She was told that women were not allowed to drive buses (this was in 1950).  She got together a group of women who all petitioned Herbert Montgomery to go to the School Board and get them the permission to drive.  Mr. Montgomery was so impressed with their desire that he went to the Board and fought for the Central women to be given the chance.  The result?  Miss Camille drove a bus for 25 years.

    Miss Camille was also known for her strong faith.  Rep. Richardson summed it up for all of us, “She was a very special person who was a true asset to this community.  She had a giving heart and was a person of the kind of moral fiber that made this community what it is today.  She will be missed.”

 

Camille Carpenter Kennard 

1917- 2010

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