Robert "Bob" Kenyon from the class of 1941 passed on September 25, 2017. He was proud of his time at BMI and was one of the reasons my father Richard "Dick" Kenyon went, as well as myself. Bob joined the 90th Infantry Division at the age of 19 and stormed Utah Beach on D-Day. He was awarded 2 Bronze Stars, a Purple heart and the Legion of Honor by the French Government. He believed deeply in his country and for all it stood for. He is dearly missed by all of us.
Brian Kenyon ‘73
Along with two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart, Robert Kenyon, 83, of Menlo Park is now the recipient of the Legion of Honor, an order of merit established by Napoleon in 1802. It is the highest decoration awarded in France.
Mr. Kenyon was honored in recognition of his military service in France during World War II.
Mr. Kenyon became a Chevalier (knight) in the Legion of Honor on July 9 in a ceremony at the San Francisco home of French Consul General Pierre Mourier in Pacific Heights. About 30 guests attended, including his son, Brian of Salt Lake City, and fellow members of the Palo Alto Elks Lodge.
The reception featured hors d'oeuvres, champagne and other beverages.
Bob Kenyon was 19 when he, and fellow soldiers of the 90th Infantry Division, landed on Utah Beach in Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
The casualties in June and July were the highest of the war for the 90th Division. It took them two months of intense fighting to reach the village of Periers, where the Germans made a stand.
For three days, there was fierce fighting. On July 28 the Germans retreated and the village was free, according to an article appearing in the August issue of the Palo Alto Elks Bulletin.
Mr. Kenyon was seriously wounded by German artillery. He was evacuated to England, where he was hospitalized for five months, after which he returned to duty. For his valor he was awarded two Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart, and was promoted to the rank of staff sergeant at age 19.
The citizens of Periers never forgot what the young American soldiers did for them, and "adopted" the 90th Division. After the war, the main street was renamed "Rue de la 90th Division." In 2000 the citizens of Periers dedicated a monument to the soldiers of the 90th Infantry Division.
Over the years, villagers invited surviving members of the 90th to return to Periers for celebrations and ceremonies while staying at the homes of its citizens. Mr. Kenyon visited Periers in 1984, 1994, 2000, and 2004, staying at the home of Georges and Anna Fremy.
Mr. Kenyon first learned he was being nominated for the Legion of Honor on Feb. 2. The award was confirmed on May 28. He doesn't know who nominated him for the honor and was told by the French Consulate the information is confidential.
Mr. Kenyon was born in New York City and grew up in New Jersey. He and his wife, the late Ruth Kenyon, came to California in 1968. They moved to Sharon Heights in 1972.
Mr. Kenyon was employed as vice president and general of the South San Francisco plant of Presco Food Seasons. He retired 15 years ago.
He has been a member of the Palo Alto Elks Club for 28 years and is a 20-year member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, serving as commander of the Redwood City Post. He is also a longtime member of Valley Presbyterian Church in Portola Valley.