Columnists

Retired Township Trustee Tom Kenley Enjoyed Serving

(Photo courtesy of Theresa Caldwell)
Retiring Noblesville Township Trustee Tom Kenley (back left) on his final day of work on Dec. 30 enjoys lunch with Township Trustee Office employees Beverly Watson (new Township Deputy Trustee), Ann Barnes, Theresa Caldwell (new Township Trustee and former Deputy Trustee), Amanda Moore and David James.

On the last workday of the year, Noblesville Township Trustee Tom Kenley was busy at his office, cleaning out his desk and “drinking eggnog without the rum.”

But he gladly took a few minutes to share about his years spent as our Township Trustee.

“It’s been an experience of a lifetime to have served eight years as the Noblesville Township Trustee,” he said.

“I want to thank my board and staff for all the help and cooperation they have given me over the years. It’s been a great ride, but it’s now time to hand the torch off to Theresa Caldwell.”

Caldwell, the new Trustee who replaced retiring Kenley on Jan. 1 and was formerly the Deputy Trustee and had worked for the Trustee Office for several years, said, “Tom was a good Trustee that helped a lot of people in Noblesville Township. He was always willing to listen to clients and help if he could. I believe he truly cared about the residents of Noblesville.”

They worked together well for the past eight years, she said.

When former Township Trustee Billie Caldwell retired, Caldwell and Kenley both ran for the open seat in the 2014 election, and Kenley won by 272 votes. Kenley ran unopposed in the 2018 election, and Caldwell ran unopposed in the 2022 election after Kenley announced his retirement and vacant seat and endorsed Caldwell.

(Photo courtesy of Tom Kenley)
Retired Noblesville Township Trustee Tom Kenley on his final day of work on Dec. 30 with Township employees Beverly Watson (center), the new Deputy Trustee, and Theresa Caldwell, the new Township Trustee and former Deputy Trustee (right).

“I’m certain she will do an excellent job, as she is well qualified and dedicated to helping improve the lives of the less fortunate in our community,” Kenley said of Caldwell.

Beverly Watson, a Township Trustee Office employee, has been promoted to the Deputy Trustee position. The community may have already met Watson, as she has assisted Kenley at Legacy Keepers Music’s summertime String-Time on the Square series, one of the many nonprofit programs for which the Township awarded grants.

Noblesville Township, which has a board made up of three elected officials, Joe Arrowood, Peggy Pfister and the newly elected Mary Sue Rowland, provides financially with grants to many nonprofit organizations in Noblesville. Among the programs, besides the String-Time concerts, that have received Township grants are Noblesville Schools’ Summer Recreation Camps, Noblesville Cultural Arts Commission for the Noblesville Shakespeare in the Park, Forest Park Aquatic Center Noblesville Preservation Alliance Historic Home Tour, Canstruction competition, Boys & Girls Club of Noblesville’s Camp Crosser day camp. There are so many programs that benefit from the Noblesville Township Trustee funds.

Kenley is grateful for his time elected to Township Trustee. “I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to serve. The one achievement of my administration that I am perhaps most proud of is converting an existing township building and purchase of a house as a safe place to stay for qualified people who are experiencing severe crises in their lives.”

Kenley said, “We do come across some unfathomable situations with clients that most people don’t know exist. I’m very proud that our oath of confidentiality with clients has been upheld by everyone here.”

Kenley said he’ll miss the Township position. “I will miss the closeness and comradery that you develop with your coworkers in a job like this … I will miss my friends at work and plan on occasionally visiting them at the office.”

Before Kenley was elected as Township Trustee, he was a Realtor for 12 years with Brian Ayer, and before that, he worked 25 years for Kenley’s Supermarket, his family’s business of 57 years.

“I’m always known as (former Sen.) Luke Kenley’s little brother,” he said. The retired public servants, Tom and Luke Kenley, are among eight siblings and the sons of the late World War II veteran Howard Kenley, who lived to the age of 99, passing in 2018.

Interests and passions? “I enjoy sports and being around town and visiting people … I like to ride horseback in west Texas,” Tom Kenley said.

Thoughts for 2023: “I look forward to the challenges it will bring. I always try to do some things better and try to improve myself in certain ways as the New Year arrives, but I don’t make hard, fast resolutions anymore, as I seldom succeed. I might bend and change myself a little but, at my age, I’m pretty much who I am.”

The 1970 Noblesville High School graduate has two daughters, Holly and Heather, and two grandchildren, Liam and Kinsey, and he said, “They make me smile.”

Plans for retirement?

“Although I plan on traveling America and visiting national parks and historic places, I will remain a resident of Noblesville for a long time to come.”

Kenley said, “Thanks to all the caring people in our community. It’s been a pleasure to work with all of you.”

Contact Betsy Reason at [email protected]