Robert E. and Patsy R. Kern Teacher Education Endowed Scholarship
Donor: Patsy Kern
Robert Kern was born and raised in McCune, a small town in the southeast part of Kansas. He attended a one-room elementary school and graduated from McCune High School in 1955. As a young man, Robert worked for a time in California as a heavy equipment operator. Returning to Kansas, he worked on the construction of numerous Kansas and Missouri highways and the Toronto Reservoir. Mr. Kern later began his own successful construction company from which he retired in 2006. He was also active in real estate, owning Kern Rentals for 25 years. He married Patsy R. Gregory Klinger in 1979. They made their home in Frontenac, Kansas. Patsy was born in Prairie Grove, Arkansas. She grew up in Siloam Springs, where she attended first grade in a one-room school, later transferring to Siloam Springs Elementary School. She graduated from Siloam Springs High School in 1957 and John Brown University in 1960, with a degree in Education. While at JBU, work scholarships helped to provide for college expenses. She earned a M.Ed. from the University of Arkansas in 1966. Patsy did additional studying at Pittsburg State University, where she received Library Media certification. Patsy taught in several Arkansas schools: Armorel, Siloam Springs, Gentry, and Conway, before moving to Kansas, where she met and married Robert E. Kern. She taught in Frontenac and Pittsburg, Kansas Schools until her retirement in 1993 after 33 years of teaching and librarianship. During her career, Mrs. Kern was an active member of several local, state and national education organizations, serving as President of the Pittsburg Education Association in 1978. She also assisted her husband in his businesses.
In their spare time, the Kerns enjoyed traveling, much of the time by motorcycle, and gardening. Robert did not attend college, but had a high regard for education and John Brown University. Patsy was very proud to join her husband in creating this scholarship for students in the education field at her alma mater, JBU. “It is very doubtful that I would have been able to obtain a college degree if not for the work scholarships available.”