"Roanoke Bill Kenney of 'Kenney Burgers' Dies at 91"
July 17, 2012
By: Jarett Henshaw
Those that knew Bill Kenney tell us he was a smart man, who was very creative with everything he did.
"He was an idea man. I think he had great ideas about every adventure we ever launched,” said Betsy Whitney, Executive Director of the Roanoke Valley Habitat for Humanity.
He also had a huge heart. Whitney worked with Kenney at Habitat for Humanity in Roanoke, where Kenney donated all of the profits from his famous sauce for ten years. She says more than $50,000 is modest estimate.
"We would use the money to help us build houses in the Valley and that was his dream. His personal mission was to help us help low income families,” said Whitney.
Kenney also started the Can House project, putting this aluminum can bins at local businesses.
"He would go out to each company, pick up the cans,” said Kenney.
Meanwhile in Lexington, at one of the original Kenney burgers, customers are remembering Bill Kenney for the atmosphere he created at his restaurants in the 60's.
"There was a lot of teenagers that hung out at Kenny's and it was just a hang out, a place to come,” said customer Matt Cline.
"A lot of 57 Chevys and Mustangs and everybody was partying, having a good time. Life was a lot simpler,” said customer Roger Jones.
Most people say Kenney's was the first fast food restaurant in our area. 47 years since they opened, Kenney's is still serving up the famous Kenney burger just like in 1965
"I think that's people forming memory when they first got their car and they would take their girlfriend out to get a burger. They would sit in the Kenny Burger parking lot,” said Betsey Whitney.
He will be missed by many whether it's his famous sauce burger, or his enduring dedication to help others in the community.
Bill Kenney was 91 years old. Funeral Arrangements have not yet be finalized.