Ethan David Kenney, 1984 – 2011
Ethan D. Kenney died on Saturday, July 2, after a motorcycle accident in Albemarle County. He was a week shy of 27.
Ethan was born on July 10, 1984, in Columbus, Ohio, to Linda and Michael Kenney. When he was two weeks old, the family moved to Atlanta, Georgia. In 1992, the Kenneys moved into their home in Crozet, where Ethan grew up and put down strong roots. Ethan attended the Charlottesville Waldorf School through 8th grade and went on to Western Albemarle High School, where he played football and graduated in 2003.
Ethan is lovingly survived by his mother, Linda, his father, Michael, his brother, Mathew, his partner, Saward, and a beloved company of friends, including his Waldorf classmates, his Western Albemarle High School friends, his “PHamily,” and his “main men” at High Speed Auto in Barboursville, Virginia.
Ethan lived so many different existences in his 27 years. He went from being an enthusiastic, caring boy and student filled with joy and curiosity for the world around him, to being one of the friendly young faces at the Crozet IGA, to settling down to study auto mechanics in Virginia Beach, to making himself a solid employee at High Speed Auto. He was an invaluable mechanic to his clients—not to mention motorists broken down on the side of the road, whom he always stopped to help. During all of these phases, Ethan’s radiance brought so many people, eager to share in his zeal for life, into his orbit. His spirit and enthusiasm touched straight to the heart through the effortless act of his existence, hard work, and spirit.
Ethan loved his work as if it were his playground. He loved his playtime just as much, especially on his motorcycle, and he loved nothing more than getting up to high jinks with brother Mathew. He loved his people and was always generous with them and ready to help—it was so typical of him that in the midst of everything else going on in his life, he and Mathew had just begun a major project to rebuild the deck for their mom. And perhaps the highlight of his young life, Ethan was thrilled to be becoming a new father: His partner, Saward, is expecting their first child in the fall.
By all accounts, Ethan had become a beautiful man—not only in what we beheld with our eyes, but in what shone from his heart, what twinkled in his eye, what beamed from his smile, what shook in his laughter. He showed us what it is to greet each other with open arms, to go forward with warmth and strength in our hearts. His enjoyment of life was contagious and remains in so many memories around the world.
The tragic loss of such a vital member of so many communities reverberated throughout them. It was clear not only from the great number of people who gathered to mourn Ethan’s passing by celebrating his life on the anniversary of his birthday, July 10, 2011—around the deck that Ethan and Mathew had begun and that Mathew (and friends) readied for the celebration—but also from the sincerity and quality of each individual’s connection to Ethan, that he had lived a remarkable life in his short 27 years and that he had become a dependable and powerful light in many of our lives. His passing has shown us that in the end, what we truly are is the relationships we build, the love we create.
Ethan is and will be sorely missed, but leaves behind hearts that are bigger and smiles that are brighter for having known him. His spirit lives on in those friends and companions who continue to live his spirit and honor his memory by living life to the fullest and with the greatest joy. Ethan’s life has taken seed in our spirit, and his spirit is blossoming in our life.
The community has opened its heart and has been hosting fundraisers at local establishments such as Salon Cielo and Ben Around Tattoo to help raise money to support Saward and their baby soon to come. Those who would like to make donations to the Fund established to help support his new family are invited to send donations to: Ethan “My Darlin’” Kenney Fund, P.O. Box 240, Charlottesville, Virginia 22902.