For 36 years, Frederick S. Kenney and James A. Robinson worked together at Bostitch, first in Pawcatuck, CT, and later in East Greenwich. "He was a great guy," Fred told the Foundation in a 2005 interview, adding, "We liked to go fishing together, and we became very close."
When Jim, a bachelor, died of cancer in 1997 at 79, he honored their long-time friendship by leaving Fred a sizable bequest, requesting that it be used to support activities in Hope Valley, particularly the library. Fred used the funds to establish a charitable gift annuity at the Foundation and became a member of the Foundation’s 1916 Society.
"Every penny that comes in [income from the annuity] goes into a separate checking account. I never touch it; it all goes to charity," Fred told the Foundation. And he made arrangements that following his death, which occurred in February of 2015, the Robinson-Kenney Fund would be established as a designated fund for the Langworthy Public Library in Hope Valley.
Fred served for many years on the library’s board of directors and was a lifetime member of the organization which he referred to it as "a very active and nice little library." He boasted that it contained the best historical archives in South County. In addition to serving on the board, Fred did maintenance work, including mowing the grass and plowing the snow.
Born on his family’s farm in 1920, Fred shared memories of his early years. "We came to Hope Valley by horse and buggy back then. And we didn't have electricity until my senior year in high school."
He graduated from Westerly High School, served in the Navy during World War II, and began a 43-year tenure at Bostitch. He also married, had four children, and became active in Hope Valley organizations. His children survive him; he was pre-deceased by two wives.
It was through his involvement at the Langworthy Public Library that Fred first learned about the Rhode Island Foundation, picking up a copy of the Foundation's annual report on one of his many visits to the neighborhood library.