Hoyt Kenmore recently introduced himself as a retired bureaucrat and added he was proud to have been a bureaucrat. He sees his years in public service as true service to his fellow man.
He came to Arizona in 1957 to work on a farm with his brother. A little more than 20 years later he was employed by the Arizona Department of Education.
Kenmore was born in Hollis, Okla., but was raised on the Texas Panhandle, in a little town called Dimmitt.
His father died when Kenmore was nine, and he soon took on the responsibilities of an adult.
“But it was a time when I could still be a kid too,” he said.
He was driving by the time he was 11 and when he was 14, he was driving a truck as part of a three-man crew that worked the wheat harvest across three states: Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.
Kenmore graduated from West Texas State College and went into the civil service, teaching airframe repair to airmen, then he was drafted and spent two years in the Army. One year he was stateside and the other he was stationed in Germany.
After getting back from Germany, he came to Arizona. He and his brother farmed southeast of Wilcox in Cochise County.
Kenmore met his wife in Arizona too, even though she had grown up only 50 miles from where he did, went to the same college as he had and even had friends in common with him.
They met in Tucson where she was teaching at Tucson High, which had 5,000 students at the time and was operating on double shifts.
Kenmore also was teaching, but at nights, he worked at Hughes Aircraft and attended the University of Arizona part-time, where he earned a master’s degree.
“I have 11 years of documented experience in an eight-year period with school and two, full-time jobs,” Kenmore chuckled.
He was teaching industrial arts at Amphitheater Junior High. He worked there for seven years and then took a sabbatical.
“I was the first Arizona teacher to take a sabbatical and not come back,” he said.
The break from teaching was to earn his educational specialist degree from Northern Arizona University, specializing in industrial supervision. He earned the degree in May 1968, having started work at the state department of education a month before.
Kenmore developed the state’s manpower training programs for four years, then went into the industrial education division.
His work took him over every paved road in Arizona, and had him in rural schools all over the state.
“Rural schools don’t have the resources for industrial arts education that city schools have,” he said.
He also did a lot of work with NAU and Arizona State University teacher educators.
Kenmore retired in 1984 and moved to Payson.
He served on the hospital board for three years and is now completing his first year on the town’s planning and zoning commission.
His first encounter with the P&Z was through his efforts with the genealogy society. He said he went before the commission on a couple of conditional use permits and a minor land division.
“I knew changes were coming and I felt I could objectively render decisions that would be beneficial for the citizens and town. I have no axe to grind and no political aspirations,” Kenmore said.
However, he said he does have some pet peeves.
“I have a very low tolerance level for public servants who want to use their positions for promoting their own agendas and often display arrogance,” Kenmore said.
Recently he spoke to the town council on the importance of advisory boards and introduced himself as a retired bureaucrat.
He said it was not something he was ashamed of, though for most people the word has a negative connotation.
It was through his work as a bureaucrat with the Arizona Department of Education that Kenmore developed an appreciation for the service that advisory boards provided.
“By law, all vocational programs are required to have advisory committees. The successful ones have very active, involved committees,” he said.
When an advisory board is not helping the program it is because the people in charge of the program don’t know how to use their board or they are threatened by them, Kenmore explained.
“I advocate advisory groups for that reason,” he said.
A modest man, Kenmore reluctantly shared the fact the only time he was a V.I.P. was when he was invited to the roll-out of the space shuttle, Enterprise.
Later he mentioned he was presented with a national award for industrial arts supervision, and served on the President’s Commission to Reduce Paperwork.
“That was almost an oxymoron,” he laughed.
Years ago, going through his mother’s files, Kenmore came across a small clipping from an Amarillo, Texas paper she had saved.
“It said, ‘A good thing to remember and a better thing to do, is to work with the construction gang and not the wrecking crew.’ It was attributed to Allen Early. It is not so much my life’s motto, but a philosophy,” Kenmore said.
Name: Hoyt Kenmore
Occupation/employer: Retired from Arizona Department of Education
Family: Wife, Alice; three children; five grandchildren; and one great grandchild.
Personal motto: Leave things better than what you find them.
Inspiration: Many, many people, but probably Harry Truman and Paul Harvey.
Greatest feat: Having a family that’s loved and supported me this far in life.
My favorite hobby or leisure activity are family related activities and volunteer work.
The three words that describe me best are Christian family man.
I don’t want to brag, but ... I have been involved in lots of gratifying things, gratifying because they have benefited others.
The persons in history I’d most like to meet are my great, great, great grandparents, the Kenmores and Wileys. They came from Ireland in very adverse conditions, but passed down a strong sense of individual pride.
Luxury defined is good health and happiness.
Dream vacation spot: Home. I’ve been in all 50 states and 15 to 18 different countries and appreciated all the differences I’ve seen.
Why Payson? I was raised on the flat plains of Texas and my wife and I decided when we retired we wanted to be in the tall pines. We had it narrowed down to Show Low, Prescott and Payson, but chose Payson because it was accessible to all the services we would need as we became older.