On October 10, 1927, Kenny Johnson was born in Carthage to Guy and Corda Ronner Johnson, and has spent the majority of his life here. He has volunteered in too many clubs and events to enumerate them all and has worked tirelessly to make Carthage a better place to live and raise our children. Kenny attended Hawthorne Elementary School and graduated from Carthage High School in 1945, where he was an outstanding athlete, lettering in basketball, football and track. He was recruited to play basketball for the Div. III National Champions, Hamline University, but was drafted into the U. S. Army.
In 1945 he married Betty Busby and the union produced two sons. Steve lives in Springfield, but sadly Stanley passed away in 1976. Kenny is an Army veteran, having served in Korea and being promoted to Staff Sergeant in 1946. Upon his return from Korea he was sent to Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri where he was promoted to Master Sergeant.
Upon leaving the Army, he worked for the Missouri Department of Transportation for 43 years. For 12 of those years he worked in Monett, where he also volunteered with the Jaycees Little League Program, and was honored by the Jaycees with their Man of the Year Award.
In 1973 Kenny married Doris Caler Wood, who was Carthage City Clerk at that time. He always blamed her for getting him into politics and volunteer work, however he has always been a volunteer. He served 6 years on the Parks and Recreation board and 14 years on the Carthage Water and Electric board, serving as President of both. From 1990-1994 he also served on the Carthage City Council, and was elected Mayor of his hometown in 1994. When Doris died he honored her wish for him by running for a second term as Mayor and won the election easily. This made him the first person in over 50 years to serve two consecutive four year terms as Mayor of Carthage. Under his leadership as Mayor he worked with Missouri Department Of Transportation to get the first roundabout constructed in Southwest Missouri. When he had completed his second term he served as Interim President of The Carthage Chamber of Commerce and as Secretary of Carthage Economic Development Corporation. In 2006 he was named Citizen of the Year by the Carthage Chamber of Commerce for his “tireless community service”. In recognition of his service to his community he was awarded the prestigious Vanderlinden Public Official Award by the American Public Power Association, and the Public Official’s Award by the Missouri Public Utility Alliance.
Kenny is a communicant of Grace Episcopal Church, volunteers at the Can Do Senior Center delivering meals on wheels, is an Ambassador for Mercy Hospital Carthage and has led a water aerobics class at the YMCA for many years.
He is a 40 year member of the Fraternal Lodge 14 of the Knights of Pythias and was Grand Champion of the State Lodge in 1985, State Deputy Supreme Representative and State Supreme Lodge Representative from 1990 to 2012.
Kenny Johnson is a devoted public servant who is a modern day Carthage Hero.