In Memory

David Kenyatta

Dr. David R.J. Kenyatta passed away peacefully at home in Baltimore on September 22, 2018. David was born on November 28, 1956 in Philadelphia and was preceded in death by his parents Phoenix and Martha Johnson. 

David loved learning and earned a Bachelor’s degree from College of the Holy Cross, a Master’s degree from Ohio State University, a Masters and Ph.D. from Penn State University, and a J.D. from the University of Baltimore. He held academic and administrative positions at numerous universities including Morgan State University, University of Maryland University College, Troy University and Kampala International University. 

While applying to colleges in Philadelphia through the American Foundation for Negro Affairs (AFNA) Program, David became attached to Retha Bright Kelly, who worked there as a Student Administrator, and she to him. Realizing that David had no family she took him under her wing, as a Mother, and introduced and adopted him into her family. He was accepted by all and came to lovingly call her Mom and she called him Son. She loved and was very proud of David and all of his educational accomplishments. When David came to visit, all the family came over to laugh and joke with him. Although not blood related, David was considered family and was always referred to as a brother, uncle to the children and a cousin by other relatives. 

David possessed remarkable intelligence, drive and energy, creativity, and open-mindedness. His passion – be it for Shakespeare, the movies, or Agatha Christie – was infectious. His quick wit, charm, easy smile, and generous disposition endeared him to everyone. You could have strong disagreements with David about many things, but he was always willing to accept a point of view very different from his own, while being true to his beliefs. His favorite pastimes were going to the theater, the movies (particularly film noir), the gym, bike riding, and traveling. He saw much of the world, with London being one of his favorite destinations. 

He was a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and the Knights of Columbus. He was a faithful member of the Catholic Church. 

He will be missed by all those who knew him. 

Sorrowfully submitted by Mary Ellen Kauffman, Ven Sriram and Cynthia Church.  A memorial service for David was held at Saint Edward’s Roman Catholic Church 901 Poplar Grove St Baltimore, Maryland 21216.

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05/21/19 08:12 AM #1    

Judy Plaisance


I'm so sorry to hear of David's passing. My sincere condolences go out to his family. He will be missed.

Dr. Judy M. Plaisance

05/21/19 08:26 AM #2    

Valerie Mock

I am sorry to hear of David's passing. I think the thing I remember most about him was his smile. My condolences to his family and friends.

05/21/19 11:07 AM #3    

Bren Shuler

I remember David having a bright, magnetic personality.  I'm sorry for your loss.

Bren Shuler (Asian Division)

05/21/19 04:03 PM #4    

Patrick Dua

I am deeply saddened to read about David's sudden call to eternity. I remember I heard the name a couple of times back then in his days in Heidelberg. Unfortunately I never had the opportunity to meet him personally. My deepest sympathies go out to all his dear ones. May he rest in peace. 

05/21/19 05:42 PM #5    

John Nolan

I cannot beleive this- Dvid was a great friend.  I used to meet him at the last mintue ticket office in Leiester Square, spending hte whole weekend  going to shows as things became available. We lifted weigths together, laughed together. One of the bigger disappointmetns of my life was when I was promoted to Headquarters in Heodelberg, only to find David on his way out as I was just arriving. He had helepd a lot to get me there, and  I had so looked forward to our being able of spend time together. But ti didnt happen. And now he's gone.  I hoep is soul is at rest- very sad to know he is not with us anymore. 


05/22/19 06:17 AM #6    

Charles Brumfield

I met David when we were both part of the group assigned to Europe in the fall of 1993.  It was a fairly large group, but we took an instant liking to each other.  I was a white kid raised in racist MS, he was a black kid raised in the northeast.  I never developed the racism that was/is characteristic of MS, and I never consciously thought of the difference.  He was simply a very intelligent, likable guy.  I never thought of him any other way.  We both taught graduate courses and had some assignments together in Germany and Italy and did some traveling together to places like Paris, Rome, Luxemburg, and Munich for Oktoberfest (he had my back because he didn't drink alcohol).  We often went to movies or parties together.  David talked about his family but never let on that it was his "adopted" family.  First I knew of that was from the above.

I left Europe for Asia in 1996, and married in Thailand in 2000.   As we led our separate lives, for the most part I lost touch with David.  But I can still remember the last time we said goodbye and all of the good memories in between.  

I could go on and on about how much I liked David, but I'll just say, he was a great friend for the short while I knew him.  I will miss knowing he's in the world.      Charles Brumfield

05/22/19 07:31 AM #7    

Jane McHan

I was sad to learn about David's death.  I hope that he is at peace.  We went  the UK every year for 3 or 4 years TDY and it was a pleasure to know and work with David.

01/25/22 04:28 PM #8    

Linda Hoke

I'm very sad to hear of David's passing. I met him when I was a Field Rep in Kaiserslautern and considered him a friend. We continued our friendship in Heidelberg. He got me interested in Film Noir, and he borrowed my videos of "Rumpole of the Bailey" and then we would then discuss and laugh about Rumpole. RIP David.

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